"Pongáio" was the name my Aunt Mona gave to a long, green, cool room where we gathered at her home —
replete with comfy chairs, a rocker, sewing machine, sewing goods, beautiful beads, shelves, books, bibelots, photographs, odds'n'ends, mementos of a life, treasures —
a gathering of all the useful & 'useless' things that so make life a pleasure.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Monteverdi "Zefiro Torna, oh di soavi accenti" ~ Rial & Jaroussky, L'Arpeggiata

Always lovely to hear and see!

From   Monteverdi: Zefiro torna e di soavi accenti - Fouchécourt, Padmore 
       From "Zefiro torna e di soavi accenti", SV 251, madrigal for two tenors with basso continuo 
       Text: Ottavio Rinuccini
       Music: Claudio Monteverdi
       Published in Scherzi musicali II, in 1632

       In this video:
       Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, tenor     Mark Padmore, tenor
       Les Arts Florissants,                    Conducted by William Christie

       Recorded in 1992

       "Rinuccini's poem is a close imitation of Petrarch's sonnet 'Zefiro torna e 'l bel tempo rimena' (no. 310 in the Canzoniere) - set by Monteverdi in his Sixth Book of 1614 - and there are also echoes of the nature imagery of Tasso... The poem seems ready-made for musical setting, even if Monteverdi felt it necessary to clinch the point by changing the first parola rima (Rinuccini's first line is 'Zefiro torna, e di soavi odori', rhyming with 'fiori', 'Clori' and 'canori'). The composer's new 'accenti' prompts a setting for the most part over the syncopated ciaccona bass pattern in a jaunty triple time. Nor does he lose any opportunity to 'paint' the specific images of the text - the 'sweet accents' 'murmuring' through the branches, the flowers made to 'dance' to the wind, the 'sweet an joyous notes' of the nymphs and the (high) mountains, low valleys, and echoing caverns. But for the final tercet Monteverdi shifts to a dissonant madrigalian style, contrasting the joys of spring with the pains of the lover: triple time returns only at the end as the poet counterpoints weeping and singing, the reference to 'canto' providing the final justification for the use of the two gestures that most obviously invoked 'song' in the early seventeenth century, triple-time writing and (in the final cadence) ornamental roulades. Thus Monteverdi's 'Zefiro torna' conventionally plays off aria styles (for the delights of spring) against 'recitative' (for the grieving lover). "
       — Tim Carter

       Zefiro torna, e di soavi accenti
       l'aer fa grato e 'l pie discioglie a l'onde,
       e mormorando tra le verdi fronde,
       fa danzar al bel suon su 'l prato i fiori.

       Inghirlandato il crin Fillide e Clori
       note tempran d'amor care e gioconde;
       e da monti e da valli ime e profonde
       raddoppian l'armonia gli antri canori.

       Sorge più vaga in ciel l'aurora, e 'l sole
       sparge più luci d'or: più puro argento
       fregia di Teti il bel ceruleo manto.

       Sol io, per selve abbandonate e sole,
       l'ardor di due begli occhi e 'l mio tormento,
       come vuol mia ventura, hor piango hor canto.

       Translation (by Tim Carter):

       Zephyrus returns, and with sweet accents
       makes the air pleasing and loosens his foot from the waves,
       and murmuring among the green branches,
       he makes dance to his sound the flowers in the meadows.

       Phyllis and Chloris, garlands on their brow,
       temper their sweet and joyous notes of love;
       and from the mountains and the valleys low and deep
       sonorous caverns echo their harmony.

       Dawn rises more lovely in the heavens,
       and the sun spreads forth more rays of gold;
       while purer silver adorns Thetis' fair cerulean mantle.

       Only I, wandering through abandoned, lonely woods,
       the brightness of two lovely eyes and my torment,
       as my fortune wills it, now I weep, now I sing. 

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