8026 Love Letters from Italy - LEMS

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8026 Love Letters from Italy - LEMS
(LEMS 8026)
Drew Minter, countertenor
ARTEK – 458 Strings, Gwendolyn Toth, director
Grant Herreid – lute, theorbo, guitar
Astrid Nielsch – harp
Dongsok Shin – organ
Paul Shipper – guitar
Richard Stone – theorbo, archlute
Lisa Terry – viola da gamba,
Gwendolyn Toth, director – harpsichord, virginal, organ
One of the great innovations of the late 16th and early 17th century was the rise
of the concept of the “virtuoso” singer and instrumentalist. Before the
innovations of the monody, he predominance of polyphony ensured that each
voice in a composition was functionally equal to all others. Two reform
movements were to effect a great change in the musical environment: the
Council of Trent (1542) and the Camerata in Florence between 1573 and 1587.
The Council of Trent was a reaction to the textual confusion in sacred music
resulting from the polyphonic style of Palestrina then prevalent. The Council
issued a proclamation that the words of the liturgy must be intelligible. The
Camerata, primarily a literary and philosophical movement, strove to discover
the principles of ancient Greek music. The Camerata came to the conclusion
that music should above all express the affect of the text and that this goal was
best accomplished in solo vocal writing. Out of this movement came the
invention of opera, the style we know as monody, and ultimately the birth of a
new style in music history, the baroque style.
The importance of the words in the musical settings of texts had the logical
effect of increasing the importance of the solo singer as a poetic declaimer;
early texts in the monody style were written by the best poets of the age and are
of extremely high quality. With the rise of the importance of the soloist came a
new emphasis on solo virtuosity. The first true “divas” of singing were Italian
singers such as Vittoria Archilei, Francesco Rasi, Giovanni Gualberto Magli,
and others. As the practice of virtuosic singing became widespread,
instrumentalists, in imitation of the voice, also began to enjoy a role as soloist
of importance.
The music heard on this recording represents a cross-section of styles in the
17th century. Through-composed music typical of the Florentine Camerata ideal
is represented by several works. Io vidi in terra is a text by a major Italian poet
(Petrarch) set by the composer Marco da Gagliano (1582-1643), who also
composed one of the earliest operas, La Dafne (1608). Odi quel rosignuolo by
Sigismondo d’India (ca.1582-1629) is nearly a dictionary of every type of vocal
effect possible. The great master Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) is
represented by Lettera amorosa, an example of stile recitative in which the
music goes even further in the direction of sung speech and away from
traditional melody, and Pianto della Madonna, Monteverdi’s Latin sacred
setting of the more famous “Lamento d’Arianna” from his lost opera Arianna.
The Latin setting handily fulfills the admonitions of the Council of Trent; the
secular origins of the setting were not considered sacrilegious. La Madalena
ricorre alla lagrime is a sacred piece set to an Italian text by the composer
Domenico Mazzocchi (1592-1665). Mazzocchi uses unusual chromatic
harmonies in this lament, venturing into what are considered extremely distant
keys for the 17th century, to express the anguish and torment of the text.
Vocal music based on existing ground-bass patterns was another favorite form
in the 17th century. Two pieces on this recording are based on various types of
the passacaglia ground. The Aria di passacaglia of Girolamo Frescobaldi
(1583-1643) utilizes several different passacaglia variations throughout the
piece. Giovanni Felice Sances (ca. 1600-1679) is the composer of Cantada a
voce sola il passacaglio, one of several vocal pieces he wrote based on one of
the most famous passacaglia patterns, the descending tetrachord (well-known
from other works such as Monteverdi’s “Lamento della Ninfa” and the final
duet, probably by Ferrari, in the opera L’incoronazione di Poppea).
Frescobaldi’s Aria di passacaglia, Sances’ Cantada a voce sola sopra il
passacaglio, and d’India’s Odi quell rosignuolo are also early examples of the
recitative-aria format that by the mid-17th century had become the primary
musical form in operatic and vocal chamber music. The cantata Rimbombava
d’intorno by Antonio Cesti (1623-1669) combines clear-cut recitative, aria, and
arioso into a large chamber cantata. Notable is the re-introduction of purer
melody in both bass line and vocal line in the arias reflecting the changing
musical taste in the second half of the 17th century.
Instrumental music heard on this recording utilizes the unique virtuosity of
different members of our 458 Strings ensemble. We include two toccatas, the
toccata form being the primary instrumental vehicle for virtuosity in the 17th
century. Our arrangement of Frescobaldi’s Toccata per violin e spinettino
(Track 2) shares the solo lines among many different instruments: harp,
theorbo, harpsichord, guitar, lute, and viola da gamba. Frescobaldi’s Toccata
per liuto displays the talents of our two lutenists, Richard Stone and Grant
Herreid, in a form of musical dialogue, with a bowed bass (viola da gamba)
reinforcing the bass line. Lisa Terry performs one of the earliest known solo
violincello works, a Ricercar for violincello and basso continuo by Domenico
Gabrielli (1651-1690). Despite the title of Ricercar, usually an archaic fugal
form, the piece is actually a violincello sonata in four movements: Grave,
Allemande, Largo, and Presto. It is an early example of the high baroque dance
suite so well-known from the works of J.S. Bach and many others, and calls for
a typical early violincello scordatura tuning, C-G-D-G.
Two temperaments were used in the performance of these pieces. The earlier
17th century works by Frescobaldi, Monteverdi, d’India, Gagliano, and Sances
are performed in 1/4-comma meantone. In this tuning, the Mazzocchi lament
would require the famous 19-note keyboard of Zarlino to accommodate all the
chromatic notes; therefore, necessity demanded we us 1/5-comma meantone.
The Cesti cantata and the Gabrieli Ricercar also clearly require a tuning system
able to handle all keys, and thus they were performed in 1/5-comma meantone.
1. Arie musicali Bk.1 No.16, Cosi mi disprezzate, aria di 2. Passacaglia for solo voice 2:56
2. Toccata - 4:33
3. Odi quel rosignuolo, for voice & continuo in 2 parts (Le musiche, Book 4) - 5:57
4. Io vidi in terra - 2:57
5. Toccata per liuto - 2:20
6. Se i languidi miei sguardi (Lettera amorosa), madrigal for soprano (from Book 7), SV
141 - 8:25
7. Cantata a voce sopra la passacaglia - 6:05
8. Iam moriar, mi Fili, motet for soprano (from Selva morale e spirituale), SV 288 - 9:39
9. La Madalena ricorre alle lagrime - 4:51
10. Grave - 1:35
11. (Allemande) - 2:46
12. Largo - 1:35
13. Presto - 2:25
14. Rimbombava d'intorno (3 versions), cantata for voice & continuo - 12:51
Considered among the world’s premier countertenors, Drew Minter is also an
accomplished stage director. In addition to countless recitals in America and Europe, his
engagements have included appearances with the opera companies of Brussels, Boston,
Washington, Nice, Marseilles, Toulouse, Wolf Trap, Santa Fe, and Glimmerglass. He has
frequented the music festivals of Boston, Edinburgh, Spoleto/USA, Next Wave at BAM,
Regensburg, and others. Mr. Minter has often appeared with such renowned early music
ensembles as the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Academy of Ancient Music,
Handel/Haydn Society of Boston, American Bach Soloists, Philharmonia Baroque
Orchestra, Theatre of Voices, Folger Consort, and Les Arts Florissants. He is a founding
member of the Newberry Consort and of Ensemble Five/One which he also directs, and
he has appeared regularly with ARTEK since its inception in 1986. A specialist in the
works of Handel, Mr.Minter has appeared often at the Handel festivals of Gottingen,
Halle, Karlsruhe, and Maryland. He is especially well-remembered for his portrayal of
Tolomeo in Peter Sellars’ production of Giulio Cesare, which was also filmed for
Decca/London. His more than forty recordings are to be found on the Harmonia Mundi,
Hungaroton, Koch, and others labels. This is his first recording for Lyrichord.
ARTEK is a musical organization reflecting the artistic vision of founding
director Gwendolyn Toth. ARTEK began in 1986 with a modest series of
chamber music concerts with Ms. Toth and her friends and colleagues. Now
ARTEK has grown into one of America’s premier early music organizations.
ARTEK’s yearly series of orchestra, dance, theater, and chamber music events
in New York City regularly receives high acclaim from The New York Times,
and ARTEK’s first compact disc release of Monteverdi’s opera Orfeo on the
Lyrichord Early Music Series label has garnered rave reviews. Ms. Toth has
guided ARTEK to prominence through her unerring ability to create
outstanding programs both of well-known masterpieces presented in a fresh,
creative setting and rarely heard gems from the 17th and 18th centuries, newly
presented to 20th century audiences. The 458 Strings ensemble is made up of
the continuo and bass players of ARTEK.The unique sound of the many
plucked instruments , keyboard instruments, and bass instruments is special not
only to the 458 Strings but to all ARTEK concerts.
Grant Herreid, in addition to performing with ARTEK, is a member of the early
music quartet Ex Umbris and Pifaro (Philadelphia Renaissance Wind Band),
and is a regular guest with Hesperus and LiveOak & Co. he has been music
director for many productions of the Mannes Camerata, and has arranged and
composed music for several of the comedies of William Shakespeare.
Astrid Nielsch concertizes regulary in Europe and America as a specialist on
medieval, renaissance, and baroque harps. She has performed on the Fringe
series of the Utrecht Early Music Festival, Tage Alte Musik Berlin, and at the
World Harp Congress in Copenhagen. She is currently studying for her
doctorate in musicology at the Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht in the Netherlands.
Paul Shipper performs as an actor, singer, and instrumentalist. In addition to
performing with ARTEK he is a member of New York’s Ensemble for Early
Music, Nottingham Fair, the Mannes Camerata, New York Alta Band, and is a
founding member of Ex Umbris. He has also performed and recorded with
Pomerium, the Baltimore Consort, Smithsonian Chamber Players, and others.
His discography includes recordings on BMG, Harmonia Mundi, Musical
Heritage Society, Newport Classic, and Lyrichord.
Richard Stone has performed with the Taverner Players, Consort of Musicke,
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, ARTEK, and Glimmerglass Opera. His solo
performance of German baroque lute repertoire won him a prize at the 1990
Early Music Competition at the Festival of Flanders in Bruges. In 1995 he
made his operatic directorial debut in the Orlando Opera Company production
of Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, which he led from the theorbo.
Recording credits include Deutsche Grammophon, Lyrichord, Musical Heritage
Society, Bridge, National Public Radio and BBC, as well as a debut solo CD on
the Titanic label of lute music by Silvius Leopold Weiss.
Lisa Terry enjoys an active career as a viola da gambist and baroque cellist.
She performs regurlarly with Concert Royal, Parthenia, New York Consort of
Viols, Dryden Ensemble, Four Nations, and Grande Bande, in addition to
ARTEK. She is a founding member of the viol consort Oriana. Currently she is
on the music faculty of Columbia University.
Gwendolyn Toth is recognized as one of America’s leading early music
conductors and keyboard performers. She has won prizes in the Magnum Opus
Harpsichord competition and in American Guild of Organist competitions, and
she was selected as an “Outstanding Young Conductor” by Opera News in
1989. She has been heard in concert throughout North America, Europe, and
the Far East, and on radio networks in Holland, Germany, France, and
America’s National Public Radio. Currently she is preparing a recording of solo
organ works of Heinrich Scheidemann, recorded on the meantone organ in
Zeerijp, Holland.
Words and Translations
1. Aria di passacaglia Primo libro d’arie musicali per cantarsi (Florence, 1630)
Cosi mi disprezzate?
Cosi voi mi burlate?
Tempo verra ch’Amore
Fara di vostro core
Quel, che fate del mio
Non piu parole, addio.
Datemi pur martiri,
Burlate miei sospiri,
Negate mi mercede,
Oltraggiate mia fede,
Ch’in voi vedrete poi
Quel che mi fate voi.
Belta sempre non regna,
E s’ella pur v’insegna
A dispreggiar mia fe,
Che s’oggi m’ancidete,
Credete pur a me,
Doman vi pentirete.
Non nego gia ch’in voi
Amor ha I pregi suoi,
Ma so ch’il tempo cassa
Belta, che fugge e passa,
Se non volete amare,
Io non voglio penare.
Il vostro biondo
Le guance purpurine,
Veloci piu che
Tosto faran passaggio,
Prezzategli pur voi,
Ch’io ridero ben
Do you despise me so much?
Do you find me so laughable?
A time will come when Love
will make of your heart
what you have made of mine.
Enough said: good-bye.
Yet do, do cause me pain,
Do mock my sad sighs,
Deny my compassion,
be false to my fidelity;
for then you will see in yourself
What you have done to me.
Beauty does not reign forever,
and although it may teach you
to despise my devotion,
do believe me:
if you torment me today,
tomorrow you will repent.
I don’t deny that in you
Love has lodged its best excellences;
but I know that time shatters
beauty, which passes, which vanishes;
if you will not love,
I will not struggle.
Your blond hair,
your rosy cheeks
will vanish more quickly than springtime;
soon they will be gone –
relish them now,
and later on I’ll have my laughs.
2. Toccata Il primo libro delle canzone (Rome, 1628)
3. Odi quell rosignuolo Le Musiche…libro IV (Venice, 1621)
Odi quell rosignuolo che dolcemente canta
E che forse ti credi
Che gli dia tanto spirto e tanta voce
In si picciola
E che gl’insegni spira e musico suono;
Hor lunghissimo, hor tronco,
Hora raccolto, hor sparso,
Odi come gl’accenti, hora promote, hor gli niega,
Hor gl’intreccia, hor gli lega, hor gli,discioglie.
Mormora seco al quanto e
Poi repente il canto,
Hor chiaro, hor pieno,
Hor grave, hora sottile, hor molle,
Hor l’inalza, hor li cade,
Hor la sottiene, hor al spiega, hor la vibra,
Hor l’inaspra, hor la tempra, hor
E il maestro e solo Amore.
Io vidi in terra (Petrarch) Musiche (Venice, 1615)
Io vidi in terra angelici costume
E celesti bellezze al mondo
Tal che di remembrar mi giova e dole
Che quanto io miro par sogni, ombre, e fumi;
E vidi lagrimar que’due bei lumi
Ch’an fatto mille volte invidia al sole
Et udi sospirando dir parole
Che faran gir i monti e star i
Amor, Senno, Valor, Pietate e Doglia
Facean piangendo un piu dolce
D’ogni altro che nel mondo udir si soglia
Ed era il Ciel a l’armonia si intent
Tanta dolcezza havea pien l’aere e’l
Listen to the nightingale who sings so sweetly,
and who, perhaps you may think,
gives him so much spirit and voice
in such little sparks
and teaches him musical expression and soundnow long, now short;
now gathered, now dispersed.
Hear his accents-now he promises them, then
denies them;
now he intertwines them, then binds them,
then dissolves them.
He murmurs to himself a while and then takes flight
and suddenly breaks out in song
now light, now full,
now solemn , now subtle, now soft;
now he raises it, now he lets it fall;
now he sustains it, now he shows it off,
then lets it vibrate;
Now he sharpens it, now he tempers it,
then softens it.
And his master is Love alone.
I have seen on earth
angelic habits and celestial beauties unique in this world
which gladden and pain my memory in
so much that all else I look at seems like dreams, shadows and smoke;
and I have seen tears from those two
beautiful eyes
that have made the sun envious a
thousand times.
And I have heard sighing words that were
so moving
That they would displace mountains and
hold back floods.
Love, Wisdom, Courage, Pity and Pain
joined, weeping, in a sweeter concert
than any that has been heard in the world;
and Heaven was so intent upon this harmony
that not a leaf could be seen moving in the
so full of sweetness was the air and the breeze.
5. Toccata per liuto Il primo libro delle canzone (Rome, 1628)
6. Lettera amorosa Libro VII di madrigal (Venice, 1619)
Se I languid miei sguardi,
Se I sospir interotti,
Se le tronche parole non han sin hor potuto,
O bel idolo mio,
Farvi della mia fiamma intera fede,
Leggete queste note,
Credete a questa carta in cui
Sotto forma d’inchiostro il cor
Qui sotto scorgerete quell’interni pensieri
Che con passi d’amore scorron l’anima mia,
Anzi avvampar vedrete come in sua propria sfera
Nelle vostre bellezze il foco mio.
Non e gia parto in voi che con forza
Invisibile d’amore tutto a se non mi tragga,
Altro gia non son io che di vostra belta
A voi mi volgo, o chiome,
Cari mieri lacci d’oro
Deh! come mai potea scamper sicuro
Se come lacci l’anima
Com’oro la compraste?
Voi pur, voi dunque sete della mia liberta
Catene e
Stami miei prezziosi bionde fila divine
Con voi l’eterna parca sovra il fuso fatal
Mia vita torce.
Voi capelli d’oro, voi pur sete di lei
Che tutto foco mio raggi e
Ma, se faville sete onde avvien ch’ad agn’ora
Contro l’uso del foco in giu
Ah ch’a voi per salir scender conviene
Ch’a la maggior celeste ov’aspirate,
O sfera degli ardori, o paradise
Posto in quel bel viso.
Cara mia selva
Ricchissimi capelli
In voi quel labirinto amor
Ond’uscir non sapra l’anima mia
Tronchi pur morte i rami del prezzioso bosco
E della fragil carne scuota pur lo mio spirto,
Che tra fronde si belle anco reciso
Rimarro prigioniero fatto gelida polve
Ed ombra ignuda.
Dolcissimi legami, belle mie piogge
Qual hor sciolte cadete da quelle ricche nubi
Onde raccolte sete e cadendo formate
Prezziose procelle,
Onde con onde d’or bagnando andate
Scogli di latte e rive d’alabastro
More subitamente
O miracolo eterno d’amoroso desio
Fra si belle tempest arsi il cor mio
Ma gia l’ora m’invita, o degli affetti miei
Nunzia fedele, cara cart’amorosa che dalla
Penna ti dividi omai.
Vanne! e s’amor e’l cielo cortese ti
Concede che da begl’occhi non t’accende
Il raggio, ricovra entro il bel seno
Chi sa che tu non gionga da si felice loco
Per sentieri di neve a un cor di foco
If my languid looks,
if my faltering sighs,
if my broken words haven’t yet been able,
oh beautiful, adored one,
to convince you of the flame of my love,
read this note:
believe this letter which
I wrote with the drops of my heart’s blood.
Here perceive those internal thoughts
which with steps of love run through my soul;
and you’ll even see how my ardor in its
own sphere burns from your loveliness.
Not only does the invisible force of love
draw me to you;
before your beauty I am none other than
your victim and trophy.
to you I wish to turn, oh tresses,
my dear chains of gold;
ah! could I be safe,
if like chains you bound my soul
and like gold you bought it?
You are, therefore, of my liberty
both the chains and the price.
My precious blond divine threads
around the fatal spindle:
eternal fate has wound my life with you.
You, golden tresses, are her sparks
which have ignited all my fire.
But if you are sparks, why do you fall downwards
and not ascend like fire?
Ah, in order to ascend you must first fall,
to aspire to the highest skies,
to the orb of love, to paradise, the destination:
your beautiful face.
Oh dear forests of gold,
richest locks of hair from whose labyrinth
my soul knows no exit;
only death can burst the borders of this precious
wood and stir my spirit from the frail body,
that among such gorgeous branches
I shall remain a prisoner until transformed to
cold dust and naked shade.
Sweetest bonds, beautiful showers of gold,
which now untied fall from those rich clouds
where you are gathered, and, falling, form
precious storms;
wave upon golden wave you drench
smooth milky rocks and shores of alabaster.
It dies suddenly,
oh eternal miracle of amorous desire,
among such beautiful tempests my heart burned.
But now the hour invites, oh faithful herald
of my affections, dear love letter,
that you should part from my pen.
now go, and if love and heaven consent to keep
spite from rising to her eyes,
then, find shelter in her breast;
who knows, you may reach, from that happy place,
Through snowy paths, a heart of fire.
7. Cantada a voce sola sopra il passacaglio Cantade…libro second, parte
primo (Venice, 1633)
Usurpator tiranno
Della tua liberta
sia Lilla altrui
che da gl’imperi sui
non riceve il mio amor
perdita o danno.
Faccia’l geloso amante
che non t’oda ben mio
che non ti miri.
Saranno i miei sospiri
a suo dispetto
d’amator costante.
Procuri pur ch’io sia
esule dal tuo affetto
che non fara
e dal tuo core,
abandoni gia mai
l’anima mia.
Disdegno in fra gl’ardori
armi la voce
a stratii miei rivolto;
non potra far il stolto,
che se ben tu non m’ami
io non t’adori.
Ma che val ch’il rival
non mi possa impeder
ch’io non ti brami,
se per far ch’io no ami
l’adorar giova
poco amar non vale.
Meta de tuoi diletti
fatto e novo amator
vago e felice
a cui concede e lice
il tuo voler del cor
gl’ultimi accenti.
Seguane cio che vuole;
adorer com’adorai
il tuo nome,
le luce tue, le chiome
saranno del mio cor
catena e sole.
Sii pur Lilla crudele
tenti per tormentarmi
angosce e affanni
non mi daranno gl’anni
altro titolo mai
che di fedele.
Tyrranous usurper
Of your freedom let Lilla be another’s
By his command unable to receive my proffered love.
Let him be the
Jealous lover
and prevent me from
or seeing you.
My sighs shall be
despite him,
the sighs of a
constant lover.
Let him arrange
that I be exiled from
your affections,
and from your heart
will my soul
by love.
Disdain within
let him arm his
against my
he shall not play the
proud one
if you didn’t love me
I wouldn’t adore you.
But what does it
The rival cannot keep me
From adoring you.
He tries to keep me
from loving,
but it is not
worthy enough to enjoy
Loving but little.
The goal of your beauty
if made for a new love
loving and pleasing
to whom you may concede
from the will of your heart
your final word.
Follow what may,
I shall adore your name;
as I have adored your name,
Your eyes, your hair
Shall be the sunlight and chains of my heart.
So, Lilla be cruel;
try and torment me
with anguish and suffering;
the years will not give me
any other title but that of
a faithful lover.
8. Pianto della Madonna Selva morale e spiritual (Venice, 1640)
Iam moriar mi fili
Quis nam poterit matrem consolare
In hoc fero dolore
In hoc tam duro tormento.
Iam moriar mi fili.
Mi Jesu, O Jesu mi sponse,
Dilecte mi, mea spes, mea vita,
Me deferis heu vulnus cordis mei.
Respice Jesu mi, precor,
Respice matrem tuam quae gemendo pro te
Pallidas languet atque in morte funesto
In hac tam dura et tam immani cruce
Tecum petit affigi.
Mi Jesu, o potens homo, o Deus,
En inspectoris heu tanti doloris
Quo torquetur Maria Miserere gementis
Tecum quae extinta sit quae per te vixit.
Sed promptus ex hac vita discedis o mi fili,
Et ego hic ploro.
Tu confringes infernum hoste victo superbo
Et ego relinquor preda doloris solitaria et mesta.
Te Pater almus, te que fons amoris
Suscipiant laeti
Et ego te non videbo o Pater, o mi sponse.
Haec sunt promissae Arcangeli Gabrielis
Haec illa excels sedes antique patris David,
Sunt haec regalia serta quae tibi cingant crines
Haec ne sunt aurea sceptra
Et fine regnum affigi duro ligno
Et clavis laniari atquae corona.
Ah, Jesu mi en mihi dulce mori
Ecce plorando,ecce clamando rogat
Te misera Maria
Nam tecum mori est ille gloria et vita.
Heu fili non respondes,
Heu surdus es ad flectus atque querelas.
O mors, o culpa, o inferno
Esse sponsus meus mersus in undis velox,
O terrae centrum aperite profundum
Et cum dilecto meo me quoque absconde.
Quid loquor? Heu quid spero misera?
O Jesu mi, non sit quid volo
Sed fiat quod tibi placet,
Vivat maestrum cor meum pleno dolore
Pascere fili mi Matris amore.
Just let me die, my son.
For who could console a mother
In this cruel pain,
In such harsh torment?
Just let me die,
My son.
My Jesus, oh
Jesus my bridegroom,
My beloved, my hope,
My life
You inflict a wound, alas, in my heart.
Look down upon
Your mother, who lamenting you
Withers wanly, and begs to
Be joined with you
In woeful death,
On this so stern and
so immense a cross.
My Jesus, oh powerful incarnate Lord,
Behold! Have mercy on
Such overt anguish
As that which tortures Mary,
Who groans with you,
Who would die for you, who lived for you
Resolute, you will part with this life,
Oh my son,
And this I bewail.
You will break into pieces
Hell itself, defeated
Insolent enemy,
And I am seft behind,
Overtaken with grief,
Alone and dejected.
The gentle Father and the blessed ones
Will receive you as the Father of love
And I will not see you again, Oh Father,
My bridegroom.
These are the things promised by the Archangel Gabriel,
The exalted throne of the
Ancient house of David,
The royal garland
That should crown your head;
These are not the golden scepters,
And the royal power is in the
end affixed to the
hardwood, with mangling nails and crown.
Ah, my Jesus, behold, how
Sweet it would be for me to die.
Behold how, weeping and crying aloud,
woeful Mary appeals to you,
for to die with you would be
her pride and life.
Alas, my Son, you do not answer,
Alas, you are deaf to my weeping
And my grievance.
Oh death, oh sin, oh Hell!
Let my bridgegroom be swiftly immersed
In the waters;
Oh, open the deep abyss
At the center of the Earth
And conceal me together with my beloved.
What do I say? Alas, wretched
Me, what do I hope?
Oh my Jesus, let it be
Not as I wish
But be according to Thy will;
My grieving heart will live on,
Full of sorrow to nourish my Son with
The love of a Mother.
9. La Madalena ricorre all lagrime (Ubaldino) Dialoghi, e sonetti (Rome,
Lagrime amare all’anima che langue
Soccorrete pietose il dente rio
Gia v’impresse d’inferno if crude langue
E mortifera piaga ohime v’aprio.
Ben vuol sanarla il Redentore esangue
Ma indarno sparso il pretioso rio
Sara per lei di quell beato sangue
Senza il doglioso humor del pianto mio.
Su dunque amare lagrime correte
A gl’occhi ognor da questo cor pentito
Versate pur, che di voi sole ho sete.
Se tanto il liquor vostro e in Ciel gradito
Diro di voi che voi quell’ acque sete
Ch’uscir col sangue da Giesu ferito.
Tears, bitter to the languishing soul,
And me in pity, for with harsh fang
The cruel asp of Hell
Already has bitten,
And alas has opened a mortal wound.
The bleeding Redeemer
Would heal it,
But in vain would the precious
flow of that blessed blood be shed for you
Without sadness of my grief.
Oh then, bitter tears flow
To my eyes from
Repentant heart,
Pour out then, for I thurst
For you alone.
And if your liquid is so
Pleasing to Heaven
Then I will say of you that
Yours are those waters that flowed
With the blood of Jesus.
10. – 13. Ricercar
(Bologna, 1689)
14. Rimbombava d’intorno (Apolloni)
(ms. second half of 17th century)
Niobe, queen of Thebes, was the daughter of Tantalus and wife of the famous
musician Amphion, with whom she had fourteen children – seven sons and
seven daughters. Excessively proud of her offspring, she one day called off the
festival honoring Latona, divine mother to Apollo and Diana, claiming that she
had as much right to be celebrated as the goddess. Latona’s children retaliated
by killing Niobe’s sons one by one as they were sporting. When Niobe still
refused to be repentant, eve after her husband had killed himself in grief, her
daughters were in turn murdered by the darts of Apollo and Diana. Finally her
sorrow turned her to stone. – Drew Minter
Rimbombava d’intorno
al suon di mille trombe
per la reggia di Tebe eco guerriera.
Di Niobe e d’Anfion la prole altera
gia matura d’orgoglio,
e d’anni acerba,
minicciava superb fuor
delle regie porte
sovr’alati corsier battaglia e morte.
In folgorante soglio
cinta di regi’amanti,
de’figli trionfanti
a dispetto del ciel Niobe godea,
quando l’invita dea,
sorella al re del lume,
per vendicar l’offese
d’un oltraggiato nume,
chiusa da fosco e nubiloso velo,
non scese, no:
precipito dal cielo.
Vibro dall’arc eterno strali di morte,
e tutti con saette improvise
del impero di Tebe i figli uccise.
Disperato Anfion
Col proprio ferro sanguinosa
l’uscita all’alma aperse;
quindi Niobe converse,
piu per forza del duolo
che per opra del ciel,
le membra in sasso.
Ma pria che l’alma a volo
abbandonasse l’impetrito seno,
sciolte le bionde treccie e l’auree
tutta rabbia e veleno
quest’al ciel fulmino bestemmie orrende.
Falsi numi d’Olimpo, havete vinto!
Ecco in breve recinto
Del mio sangue real l’empio macelo;
Ecco privo d’avello
Il monarca di Tebe a terra estinto.
Falsi numi d’Olimpo, havete vinto!
Dimmi, dimmi, iniquo tonante,
barbara deita, nume bugiardo,
idolo senza legge e senza fede,
qual riposo, qual sede
dopo cotanti mali sperar ponno i mortali,
se dal senato eterno si mandan regi
a popolar l’inferno?
Anima d’Anfione, che disperato intanto
alla spoglia real anco t’aggiri,
contro i rapidi giri delle nemiche sfere
sprona de figli tuoi l’anime altieri
e trionfante a questa reggia
in via catenata Giunone
o Giove avvinto.
Aria reprise
Falsi numi d’Olimpo…
Anfione adorato
ch’al suon dell’auree corde
desti il senso all rupi immote e sorde,
torna, rendilo a me cui l’empio fato
forma di pietra il seno!
Deh, ti commove almeno trafitti
Rimirare a un tempo solo quei dal ciel,
te dal ferro, e me dal duolo.
Voltate, hor qui volate
Dalla citta del pianto anime tormentate,
e rimirando queste,
dite se mai vedeste
nel regno de’ tormenti
tragedie piu dolente e piu funeste!
O voi dell’Erebo, Erinni squallide,
con ombre pallid velate il sol!
Vinta, vinta dal duol,
Niobe implacabile piu miserabile,
la morte impietra.
Tebe, figli, Anfione,
io son di pietra.
Misera Niobe, colma d’ingiurie
Piu delle furie tormenti havro.
Mio cor spero scettro piu nobile,
hor fatta immobile,
qui fermo il passo.
Tebe, figli, Anfione,
io son di sasso.
Volea piu dir,
Ma intanto si congelaro
i sensi entro le labia
e nell’arida sabbia
resto donna impietrita:
senza spirit, senz’alm, e senza vita.
Con mortal castigo
acerbo l’empio fasto
e’l cor superbo d’una reina
ancor Giove riprende.
Cosi punisce it ciel
chi il cielo offende.
A warring echo to the sound of a thousand
Trumpets resounded through the kingdom of Thebes.
The offspring of Niobe and Amphion
Full pride, yet young in years,
Riding winged steds outside the royal gates,
Haughtily threatened death and destruction
Seated on a radiant throne and surrounded by her royal court
And her triumphant offspring,
Niobe presided in defiance of Heaven
When the invincible goddess (sister of the King of Light)
In order to avenge the injuries of an offended god,
enclosed in a dark and cloudy veil, did not descend,
but fell from the sky.
She shot lethal darts from the eternal bow,
And with sudden arrows killed the heirs to the Empire of Thebes.
In despair,
Ammphion opened with his own weapon
a bloody wound to release his soul;
whereupon Niobe more through force of grief
than the will of Heaven turned her limbs stone.
Before her soul took flight from her stony bosom,
Her blond tresses and golden headband all in disarray,
All rage and venom she hurled horrible blasphemies at Heaven.
False gods of Olympus, you have won!
Behold the pitiless slaughter of my royal house;
Behold the Theban monarch, tombless, dead upon the ground.
False gods of Olympus, you have have won!
Tell me, unjust thunderer, barbarous deity,
deceitful god, lawless, faithless idol, what restful place
What can mortals hope for after such misfortunes,
When sovereigns are sent by eternal tribune to populate Hell?
Soul of Amphion, in despair still circling the royal remains,
Arouse the proud souls of your offspring against
The gyrations of the hostile sheres,
And send in triumph to this realm Juno in chains
Or vanquished love.
False gods of Olympus…
Beloved Amphion
who by sounding the golden strings
gave feeling to the motionless mute rocks,
return to me, for a cruel fate turns my breast to stone!
Alas, be moved by at least the sight of thoses pierced by Heaven,
You yourself by steel, and me by grief
Fly away now from the city of tears, tortured souls,
and beholding this declare whether even were seen in the realms
of torment
sadder and more grievious sights!
Oh you, grim furies of Hell,
Veil the sun vanquished by grief, inconsolable Niobe
Is made more wretched through being turned to stone
In death.
Thebes, children, Amphion,
I am of rock.
Wretched Niobe, overflowing with grief,
Shall have more torments than the Furies.
My heart hoped for a more noble scepter,
Now I am held fast, my footsteps stop here.
Thebese, children, Amphion,
I am of rock.
She would say more, but her senses had congealed
Within her lips and in the arid sand she remained
A woman of stone:
Without spirit, soul, or life.
A deadly punishment
On the wicked pomp and arrogant heart of a queen
Is again impoed by Jove.
So does Heaven punish those who offend Heaven.
Recording Producers: Dongsok Shin & Paul Shipper
Recording Engineer: Christopher Greenleaf, Westerly, RI
Digital Editing: Dongsok Shin
Liner Notes: Gwendolyn Toth & Drew Minter
Translations: Italian
Alessandra Visconti, c1996
Gabriela Ilnitchi, c1996
Italian harpsichord & organ courtesy of Edward Brewer
Recorded April 21-24, 1996 at the Church of St.Mary the Virgin, New York
Kyler Brown, Music Director.
ARTEK is the resident ensemble of The Art of the Early Keyboard, Inc., 170
West 73rd Street 3C,
New York, NY 10023, tel 212 873 0473. This recording is made possible, in
part, by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts.
Photos: Booklet, Janet Charles, c1996
Tray card photo of Drew Minter, Domingo Djuric, c1996
Cover photo: Nicolas Simon
Booklet Production: Nicolas Simon
Special thanks to Shirley and David of Fresch, a special romantic European
bistro, serving a delectable mix of Italiam, French and Mediterranean cuisine.
143 Perry Street, NYC, 212924 0546
Note: “Love Letters from Italy” is a state-of-the art digital recording, which
possesses an extremely wide dynamic range. In an effort to maintain as natural
a sound as possible, no compression, limiters or other electronic processing
have been used to narrow the scope of this range. On most quality CD
equipment, this should present no problem. However, when played on a small
percentage of playback systems, care should be taken in adjusting the playback
level to avoid amplifier over-modulation during the loudest passages of the
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