FOR THE CURIOUS CELLIST

Quando Men Vo (When I Go Out Walking)

From the opera La Boheme (1896), this aria can be comfortably played in its original key of E major but it is offered here in three different keys. Using the original key gives us our highest, culminating note on a “B”, which is quite low, but playing it in this key allows us to use the original piano accompaniment sheet music (which can be a considerable advantage). For more drama (and a little more danger) we can play it a minor third higher – up to a “D” – for which we have transposed the aria up into G major. For the “easier version” the aria is transposed down a tone from the original (into D major), which allows us to stay always in the Neck Region, the highest note now being the “A” harmonic (one octave above the open A string).

Original Key Version: Clean Unedited    Higher Version: Clean Unedited     Easier (lower) Version

Fortunately, the key of the “play-along” piano accompaniment can be changed with one click of the mouse in the highly recommended (and truly amazing) “Amazing Slowdowner” program. With this program all three versions can be played with the same accompaniment track.

Here are the lyrics:

Quando men vo
Quando men vo soletta per la via,
la gente sosta e mira,
e la bellezza mia tutta ricerca in me,
ricerca in me
Da capo a piè.

Ed assaporo allor la bramosia
sottil che dagli occhi traspira
e dai palesi vezzi intender sa
alle occulte beltà.
Così l’effluvio del desìo tutta m’aggira,
felice mi fa!

E tu che sai, che memori e ti struggi,
da me tanto rifuggi?

So ben:
le angosce tue non le vuoi dir,
non le vuoi dir, so ben,
ma ti senti morir!

When I walk
When I walk alone in the street
People stop and stare at me
And everyone looks at my beauty,
Looks at me
From head to foot.

And then I relish the sly yearning
Which escapes from their eyes
And which is able to perceive
My most hidden beauties.
Thus the scent of desire is all around me,
And it makes me happy!

And you who know, who remember and yearn,
You shrink from me?

I know it very well:
You do not want to express your anguish,
I know so well that you do not want to express it
but you feel as if you are dying!