Puccini inspired by Dutch nursery rhymes? (Klap eens in de handjes)


As a very young child  my mother and her sister, ‘Agnus’, used to sing typical little musical ditties to us. I still remember many of them and of late they seem to have made a return to my brain. I hope this isn’t the beginning of brain-loss, or worse dementia, and will cling to the life-craft that it might well be due to our iPhone transmitted musical soirees that we are now having instead of the nauseating diets of dreadful news on the TV. I mean, how many more times do we have to hear that sending war ships and surveillance aircraft to the Straits of Iran (Hormuz) are part of a ‘de-escalation’ of tension in the Middle East?  And, not to forget the images of the burning jungles of the Amazon?

With Helvi’s arms needing daily exercises to return to previous levels of usage, including bringing food to mouth or other functions normal for hands and arms, we thought that listening to hours of wonderful music might help. All I have to do is type in ‘Pavarotti’,  push an app on the iPhone, and voila, wonderful singing of operas. One piece we particularly like is Puccini’s,  ‘Oh mio Bambino Caro’ sang by Maria Callas in 1965.


Isn’t this sublime singing? The odd thing is that I feel Puccini could well have been inspired by those traditional Dutch nursery rhymes dating back hundreds of years and handed over from generation to generation. I sang the same Dutch songs to my grandsons and they still remember. The song they remember most is ‘Klap eens in je handjes’. Here it is, and it almost brings me to tears taking me back to those good times when we were sung ( helping verb, otherwise ‘sang’) to by our parents and when we ended up teaching them to our kids and now us to the grandchildren.

Now tell me, listening to this old Dutch children’s rhyme can you hear Puccini’s Oh Mio Bambino too or am I going cuckoo? Is there still hope for me and should I eat more Tofu?

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23 Responses to “Puccini inspired by Dutch nursery rhymes? (Klap eens in de handjes)”

  1. freefall852 Says:

    Ah!…the lovely but tragic Maria Callas…that bastard Onassis did for the lady…did her bad…the bastard..
    But I have to say that except for the calming moments of that children’s song, with the gentle drop in tempo…I couldn’t really grasp any other similarity…

    Of Puccini’s piece…there is a version by the Australian singer ; Yvonne Kenny that is ..in my unknowledgable opinion, a tad sweeter… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ARKM8o6Wug

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      A great singer, the best. The children’s song was my entre into the world of appreciating music, Jo. At that time as a child as good as Mio Bambino at latter years. The similarity is perhaps more in the realm of inspiration rather than in the notes.
      Who really knows what or who inspired Puccini or any artist? Most likely the artist’s freedom to let go and ‘create.’ The making of new.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. freefall852 Says:

    It’s that melancholy sob that does it for me…god, it’s a beautiful bit of music!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. lifecameos Says:

    No I can’t hear similarities but that could be deficiencies on my part.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. petspeopleandlife Says:

    I loved the singing teacher of the little ones and I loved the little ones even more since they are so cute and seemed to have been totally enthralled by their teachers singing and gestures.

    I can’t say if the nursery rhyme reminds me of Puccini opera or not since I must admit that I am not “cultured” nor a fan of opera. However I do like some classical music just not opera.

    Now to put your mind at ease- I highly doubt that you are becoming demented since you are able to write as well as you have in the past. Just joking here but… Now go out and get plenty of fruit and vegetable that are high in anti oxidants and eat lots of those foods every day. I am joking here. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes , that sort of bonding of little children with music and a teacher is wonderful to watch.
      I like some opera but when it is boring I am glad when the fat lady takes her last bow. I am happy to get out.
      Having good food, but last week some pork sausages got the better of me. Helvi came close to chucking them out.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. berlioz1935 Says:

    I can’t say I recognise the Dutch children’s song in “Oh Mio bambinno caro”. But then, I have not much of a musical ear. Both are great songs in their own right. But still, to combine the famous aria with the children’s song and the Dutch how about this version sung by a nine-year-old girl:


    We wish Helvi further improvement in the use of her arms.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Peter, Helvi’s arms will improve and with good physiotherapy she will soon be able to return to using her arms a lot more.
      The aria sang by the Dutch girl certainly sounds very good, amazing. My musical talents are worse than zero but I love hearing good music.
      That Dutch rhyme has never left me. With Helvi’s arms often in my hands we both often do ‘klap eens in je handjes. It makes us laugh out loud.

      Liked by 1 person

    • shoreacres Says:

      Believe it or not, I came across the video of that young Dutch girl a few weeks ago. I can’t remember what I was looking for, but YouTube’s algorithm decided I needed to hear her sing, and I thought she did well.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    You and Helvi have great taste in music!
    Maria Callas’ voice brings smiles and tears! so so SO beautiful!

    We do remember the songs of our childhood fondly! What a fun song you shared! And those baby-faces are so precious!

    I don’t see a similarity between the two songs…but I enjoyed both of them!

    They say as we get more “well-seasoned” we might forget what we had for breakfast last Friday…but we remember, word for word, the poems, rhymes, songs, etc., we learned as young children. That being said, maybe we should have memorized more when we were still “raw” and “fresh”…Ha! 😀

    Continued best wishes to Helvi for healing and full recovery of her arms!
    HUGS!!! 🙂
    PS…Keep eating tofu…and fruits, veggies, fish, nuts, grains! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you, Carolyn. I keep giving Helvi you best wishes and she appreciates all of the wishes from everybody very much.
      Music is so important and a pity with so much noise going on we miss out on it.
      Last night we listened to Greek music, lovely.
      Tofu is nice with vegetables and some mayo.
      Hugs, Gerard

      Liked by 1 person

      • doesitevenmatter3 Says:

        Keep taking good care of each other! 🙂
        Keep listening to wonderful music! 🙂

        It’s nice to put on some music and “shut out” the rest of the world.

        I once had “BBQ”‘d tofu. I don’t know how they fixed it…but it tasted just like BBQ’d chicken. I was amazed. Yes, I like it with veggies!
        More HUGS!!! 🙂


  7. Julia Lund Says:

    I must say that having listened to both, I don’t get hear the echoes of either on the other. However I did enjoy both pieces very much. Hope Helvi’s rehabilitation soon bears fruit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I thought that both pieces had similarities in the responses. I am not sure what made Puccini drive to write his music. I am sure that children rhymes would have been his first introduction to lovely sounds or perhaps it was the singing of birds. Who knows?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. shoreacres Says:

    Here’s the similarity I found between the two “performances” — the children were as completely entranced by their teacher’s singing as we are by Callas. Being ‘lost’ in music is a wonderful experience, and no matter whether it’s opera or a children’s song that brings that experience to us again — who cares?

    Here’s the song that I most remember: a lullaby called “Sweet and Low”. The words are Tennyson’s. My mother sang it to me for years. She had a lovely voice, and sounded rather like Bette Midler. Hearing it again always brings a certain — wistfulness.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Hmm, love the music, but sorry to disappoint you, it has nothing to do with bambinos. It is Oh mio babbino caro – she is trying to persuade her father to let her marry her lover.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. gerard oosterman Says:

    Nice to hear from you, Hilary. How are you going?


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