Showing posts with label Tarantella. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tarantella. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Spider Dreams

The tarantula is clearly the favored arachnid both in music and the movies. Not only does the tarantula have a movie named in its honor (the John Agar-starring Tarantula, 1955), but also a dance. According to the Dictionary of Dance, the tarantella is an Italian folk dance executed in accelerating 3/8 or 6/8 time that takes its name from the Italian seaport of Taranto where, legend has it, in the fourteenth century people who had been bitten by a tarantula contracted tarantism, a peculiar disorder characterized by an uncontrollable need to dance. The supposed cure for tarantism was to dance the tarantella, which was to be performed until the spider’s poison (not deadly, but quite painful) was sweated out of one’s system. There have been ballets based on the tarantella, including Coralli’s La Tarentule (1839), but Swan Lake contains an even more famous instance of the tarantella. Nino Rota drew on Italian folk music to compose a tarantella for The Godfather, while Mario Lanza performs “Tarantella” in For the First Time (1959), his last movie.

A Few Representative Recordings:

Al Caiola, “Sicilian Tarantella,” Italian Guitars
Charlie Haden Quartet West, “Tarantella +,”
In Angel City
Mario Lanza, “Tarantella,
For the First Time/Mario Lanza Sings Caruso Favorites
The Lounge Lizards, “Tarantella,” Voice of Chunk
Evan Lurie, “Tarantella,”
Selling Water by the Side of the River
Turtle Island String Quartet, “Texas Tarantella,”
Spider Dreams
Squirrel Nut Zippers, “La Grippe,”
The Inevitable Squirrel Nut Zippers
Various, “Tarantella,”
The Alan Lomax Collection: Folk Music and Song of Italy
Various, “Tarantella,”
Music for an Italian Wedding