Tune of the Day: Tre giorni son che Nina
“Tre giorni son che Nina” is one of the best-known arias of the Italian Baroque. The lyrics refer to the concern of a man for his beloved Nina, who is in bed seriously ill. This is a common topic in the popular music of the period.
For three long days my Nina, my Nina, my Nina
Upon her bed has lain, upon her bed has lain.
Louder and louder, ye players all, awaken my Ninetta,
Awaken my Ninetta, that she may sleep no more.
Despite the enormous popularity of the air, there are still serious doubts about its attribution. For nearly a century and a half, the air has been attributed to Pergolesi, and it still is, despite the absence of any element linking it with the Italian composer. Since the first known execution of the piece took place in 1749, some scholars consider Vincenzo Ciampi as the most likely author; however, the problem remains open. In particular, the style of the air seems to follow the style of the Neapolitan school, and not that of the Venetian school which Ciampi belonged to.
This aria makes a great encore piece, and it was often used as such by famous violinists Fritz Kreisler and Nathan Milstein.