From North of Italy to Scotland

Il valzer delle candele

Some songs that, from our western culture, become a world heritage, have a really interesting story. Knowing its history helps to enhance and love the piece in question even more.

A famous Scottish music which belongs to the history of popular music, is an ancient waltz that was written for the occasion of leave, and played to celebrate retirements, changes, goodbyes and, more recently, the end of military service.

The title of this waltz is “Auld Lang Syne”. It is a traditional Scottish song written in ancient Gaelic. The English translation is: “the good old days”.

In Italian the title of this song is “Il Valzer delle candele” and is played mainly during the Christmas period and in particular during the New Year’s Eve.

The words of this song were written to thank old friends for the happy time spent with them, with gratitude.

Here too there is a nice surprise. This “Scottish” song is much closer to us than it seems.

In fact the original music was written by Davide Riccio, who was a politician, composer and luthier of the Italian Royal House Savoia.

In 1561, Davide Riccio went to the court of Scotland as private secretary of Queen Maria Stuarda. Just in Scotland, in Stirling Castle, Davide Riccio composed this piece for the Queen.

Since its composition in 1561 this song has always been played during the Scottish New Year which in their language is called “Hogmanay”.

Scottish emigrants brought it to Great Britain then to the United States and from there it spread all over the world. The conductor Guy Lombardo, for more than 30 years starting in 1929, performed it and on radio and in TV at midnight during the New Year’s Eve.

This ancient music is still part of the classical repertoire of Scottish bagpipes.

Searching with curiosity in the past, we always find a bit of traditions from “Our Old Italy” even where we don’t expect them.

Popular traditions and cultures, after all, when they are beautiful, can become universal.

Un abbraccio/ a big Hug

Marcus Dardi


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