Speak Softly Love
Larry Kusik/Nina Rota
Overture to La Forza del Destino
Guiseppe Verdi, 1835



1905 Martin Style 5 Bowlback Mandolin



1996 Gilchrist Mando Cello



1980s Classical M. Horabe Model 35 Guitar



Unknown American Maker 1940s Upright Bass

"Speak Softly Love (Love Theme from The Godfather)" is a song written for The Godfather (1972), the first film in The Godfather trilogy. While its instrumental version is simply known as "The Godfather Love Theme", "Speak Softly Love" is the vocal version. The words are by Larry Kusik but the music itself is by Nino Rota. The signature musical theme that opens the piece closely models a theme that appears early in "Preludio - Povero Ernesto!" in the opera Don Pasquale by Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848). A similar melody also appears in the Overture to "La Forza del Destino" by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901). There are also different sets of lyrics for the song in Italian ("Parla Pił Piano"), French ("Parle Plus Bas") and also in Sicilian ("Brucia La Terra"). The Sicilian version is sung by Anthony Corleone (Franc D'Ambrosio) in The Godfather Part III. Rota had used a more comedic version of the song for the 1958 film Fortunella. When this was discovered, Rota's score for The Godfather was disqualified from consideration at the 1973 Academy Awards; it had been nominated for Best Original Score. However, Rota's score for The Godfather Part II won the 1974 Academy Award for Best Score, despite containing the same piece.