Classical music, robbery, child’s tears


This 2015 classical music video shows soprano vocalist Simone Nestler and piano player Helene Jedig in “Lass mich mit Tränen mein Los beklagen” by German English 18th century composer Georg Friedrich Händel.

When I was a small child, my mother used to play this on the piano, also singing the German language lyrics:

Lass mich mit Tränen mein Los beklagen,
Ketten zu tragen, welch hartes Geschick!

Let me mourn my fate with tears,
Having to wear chains, what a cruel fate!

Who has to wear these cruel chains? I asked. Rinaldo, my mother replied. Rinaldo Rinaldini.

And here, my mother made a mistake. This aria is from Händel’s opera Rinaldo. A work loosely based on a 16th century Italian poem on the medieval crusades. Not the title character, the crusader Rinaldo, sings this aria; but Almirena, a Christian woman who has become a prisoner of Muslim soldiers.

My mother confused the fictional medieval crusader character Rinaldo with another fictional Rinaldo: Rinaldo Rinaldini. An eighteenth century Italian robber captain from a 1798 German novel.

Rinaldo Rinaldini was not really the most criminal kind of highwayman; more somewhere halfway between robber and freedom fighter against tyranny. So, I cried about these cruel chains the authorities had put around, supposedly, Rinaldo Rinaldini’s body.

As my mother felt that the aria made her child sad, she made up ‘happier’, humouristic spoof lyrics to the same tune, about animals:

Just give the bananas to the roosters,
Just give the cake to the northern pike

Rinaldo Rinaldini, the title character of an eighteenth century book, a twentieth century film, etc.should not be confused with Rinaldo Rinaldi, a nineteenth century sculptor.

There are also, in twentieth century film history, at least one designer, and (different one again) actor, called Rinaldo Rinaldi.

2 thoughts on “Classical music, robbery, child’s tears

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