Il Pianto d`Orfeo - i



Il Pianto d`Orfeo - i
Il Pianto d’Orfeo
Nicolas Achten · Deborah York · Lambert Colson
S cher z i M u sicali
I l P i a n t o d ’O r fe o
The death of Eurydice
Luigi Rossi (c.1598–1653)
Tarquinio Merula (1595–1665)
Foll’è ben che si crede 2:37
The love of Orpheus and Eurydice
Emilio de’ Cavalieri (c.1550–1602)
Aria di Fiorenza
Giulio Caccini (1551–1618)
Antri ch’a’ miei lamenti
Luigi Rossi
All’imperio d’Amore
Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643)
Rosa del ciel
Luigi Rossi
Mio ben, teco ’l tormento
Claudio Monteverdi
Vi ricorda, o boschi ombrosi
Alessandro Piccinini (1566–c.1638)
Toccata XIII
Claudio Monteverdi
Tu se’ morta
Giulio Caccini
Aria di romanesca
Giulio Caccini
Non piango e non sospiro
Jacopo Peri (1561–1633)
Non piango e non sospiro
Giulio Caccini
Aria di romanesca
Giulio Caccini
Movetevi a pietà
Funeste piagge
Jacopo Peri
Funeste piagge
Antonio Sartorio (c.1630–1680)
Orfeo, tu dormi?
Se desti pietà
Claudio Monteverdi
Possente spirto
Claudio Monteverdi
Claudio Monteverdi
Ahi, vista troppo dolce
Luigi Rossi
Les pleurs d’Orphée aillant perdu sa femme
Stefano Landi (1587–1639)
g Muove Orfeo l’empia Dite
Andrea Falconieri (c.1585–1656)
La suave melodia
Must you then lose me
for loving me too much?
Weep at my lament
Luigi Rossi
Lasciate Averno
D eborah Y or k soprano
N icolas A chten baritone
L ambert C olson cornetto
S cher z i M u sicali
dir. Nicolas Achten
Luigi Rossi, L’Orfeo – Paris, 1647 (1, 5, 7, 26)
Tarquinio Merula, Curtio precipitato et altri capricii, libro secondo – Venezia, 1638 (2)
La Pellegrina – Firenze, 1589 (3)
Giulio Caccini, L’Euridice – Firenze, 1600 (4, 12, 16)
Claudio Monteverdi, L’Orfeo – Mantova, 1607 (6, 8, 10, 21, 22, 23)
Alessandro Piccinini, Intavolatura di liuto et di chitarrone, libro primo – Bologna, 1623 (9)
Giulio Caccini, Le nuove musiche – Firenze, 1602 (11, 14, 15)
Jacopo Peri, L’Euridice – Firenze, 1600 (13, 18)
Andrea Falconieri, Il primo libro di canzone, sinfonie, fantasie, capricci, brandi,
correnti, gagliarde, alemane, volte – Napoli, 1650 (17)
Antonio Sartorio, L’Orfeo – Venezia, 1672 (19, 20)
Stefano Landi, Il libro quinto d’arie – Venezia, 1637 (25)
Luigi Rossi, Les pleurs d’Orphée aillant perdu sa femme – Paris, 1648 (24)
Theorbo (Magno Tieffenbrucker, Venezia, c.1600) Ivo Margherini, Bremen, 1999 (SN)
Theorbo (Matteo Sellas, Venezia, c.1630) Klaus T. Jacobsen, London, 2002 (NA)
Baroque guitar (Antonio Stradivari, Cremona, c.1639) Dirk De Hertog, Westrode-Wolvertem, 2012
Ceterone (Gironimo Campi, Firenze, c.1600) Carlos González, Paris, 1994
Triple harp (Domenico Zampieri, Roma, c.1619) Rainer Thurau, Wiesbaden, 2012
Harpsichord (Giambattista Boni, Cortona, 1619) Alan Gotto, Norwich, 2008
Gut-strung virginal (Giovanni Baffo, Venezia, 1594) Alan Gotto, Norwich, 2012
Wood-pipe organ (after 17th-century Italian models) Luc Meurice, Spa, 2003
Cornetto (Giovanni Bassano, Cremona, c.1600) Serge Delmas, Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, 2010 (LC)
Cornetto muto (Giovanni Bassano, Cremona, c.1600) Henri Gohin, Boissy-l’Aillerie, 2009 (LC)
Cornetto (Giovanni Bassano, Cremona, c.1600) Serge Delmas, Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, 2011 (AM)
Cornetto muto (Giovanni Bassano, Cremona, c.1600) Serge Delmas, Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, 2013 (AM)
Violin (Gioffredo Cappa, Saluzzo, 17th century) Roger Graham Hargrave, Bremen, 1992 (VD)
Violin (Antonio e Girolamo Amati, Cremona, 1629) Ada Quaranta, Taurini, 2007 (PG)
Viola da gamba (Gasparo Da Salo, Venezia, before 1609) Marco Salerno, Zagarolo, 2004
Lirone (Anonymous maker, c.1600) Marco Salerno, Zagarolo, 2001
Violone (Jakob Stainer, Cremona, c.1640) Perre Van Engeland, Bruxelles, 2002
Bows after 17th-century models by Patrizio Germone, Jérôme Gastaldo & Bruno Sporcq
Scherzi Musicali
Nicolas Achten, baritone (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 16, 18, 21, 25, 26), harp (2-4, 6, 7, 11, 14, 15, 18-21),
theorbo (5, 8-10, 12-13, 17, 24-26), harpsichord (1, 14, 22), ceterone (16)
Deborah York, soprano (5, 7, 19, 20, 23)
Lambert Colson, cornetto (1-3, 5, 7, 11, 15, 17, 21, 25)
Adrien Mabire, cornetto (1, 5, 21)
Varoujan Doneyan, violin (1, 3, 5, 8, 19-22, 24, 26)
Patrizio Germone, violin (1, 3, 5, 8, 14, 19-22, 24, 26)
Justin Glaie, viola da gamba, ceterone (10, 19-21, 23, 25, 26)
Eriko Semba, viola da gamba, lirone
Benoît Vanden Bemden, violone
Korneel Bernolet, harpsichord (5, 17, 18, 26), organ, gut-strung virginal
Solmund Nystabbak, theorbo, guitar
Recording: November 24-27, 2013, Provinciaal Museum Begijnhofkerk, Sint-Truiden, Belgium
Executive Producer: Michael Schetelich, Anselm Cybinski
Recording Producer & Editing: Nicolas Achten · Recording Engineer: Rainer Arndt
Photo: Shutterstock · Artwork: WAPS Communication, Hamburg
Scherzi Musicali wishes to thank all those who have contributed to this project, especially Dominique de
Spoelberch, Emmanuelle Audouard, Walter Corten, François Dambois, Korneel Bernolet and Solmund Nystabakk.
Scherzi Musicali is supported by the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles.
Arianna led me to a just lament,
a n d O r fe o t o a r i g h t e o u s p ra y e r …
Claudio Monteverdi
Peri, Caccini and Monteverdi: why was Orpheus the subject of so many of these early
operas? The answer almost certainly lies in
the fact that the figure unites both words and
music. As a poet in ancient Greece, Orpheus
sang while accompanying himself on the lyre.
His singing was said to charm all living creatures and could cause even the rocks themselves to weep. Orpheus was undoubtedly the
best possible ambassador for the new kind of
music that was known as recitar cantando.
In this context we generally think of Claudio Monteverdi, who, as we know, was a
composer of genius, but his genius had been
nurtured by his two predecessors, Jacopo
Peri and Giulio Caccini. His favola in musica,
L’Orfeo, takes its place, therefore, in a logically
unfolding narrative, namely, the quest by composers, poets and thinkers to find a lost ideal
and to move their audiences by means of an
appropriate rhetoric. Reduced to its essentials,
music had no other aim but to serve the text.
The programme that is featured in the present
album retraces the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice by comparing and contrasting the various interpretations of it by major artists of the
Le nuove musiche
In the years around 1600 music underwent
a fundamental change of direction with the
birth of opera. It was in Florence that the
new genre first emerged as the brainchild of
an artistic ideal developed by the Camerata
de’ Bardi, a learned society whose members
included the city’s leading Humanists – artists,
philosophers and theorists. The Renaissance
interest in classical antiquity led them to examine hitherto unpublished sources relating
to ancient Greek tragedy and poetry, in which
they believed that performers had used a
voice halfway between speaking and singing,
while accompanying themselves on a musical
instrument. In order to be able to convey emotions to an audience, music had to comprise
not only words but also rhythm and, ultimately,
The art music of the Renaissance was
polyphonic in character: whenever a lover
declared his passion, it was entirely possible
that as many as five singers would declare
their love collectively. Moreover, the words
were often rendered incomprehensible by the
way in which they were set, their intelligibility
compromised by a frequent lack of synchronization between the individual syllables in the
different voices and also by improvised ornamentation involving divisions, a technique that
musicians tended to use to excess. As a result,
the vocal music of the period raised problems
of credibility and intelligibility.
It is easy to understand in what ways the
rediscovery of classical antiquity influenced
the new generation of composers, an entirely
new type of music coming into being at this
time and becoming known as recitar cantando or, alternatively, as the stile recitativo or,
in Monteverdi’s case, the seconda prattica.
The way in which this new style of composition worked, together with the notation that it
employed, was the subject of much theorizing
that also found expression in practice. From
then on the rhythm and intonation of the singer
were intended to imitate the art of recitation
as closely as humanly possible.
In order to meet the need for a musical accompaniment to this vocal writing, instrumentmakers transformed existing instruments with
a view to extending their compass and dynamic range. In many cases their nomenclature
evokes the age of classical antiquity: the chitarrone, for example, contains an echo of the
Greek kithara, while the lirone recalls the lyre.
The accompaniment was largely improvised
by the continuo players, the composer providing only the bass line.
In 1600 Emilio de’ Cavalieri, Giulio Caccini
and Jacopo Peri, all of whom were members
of the Camerata de’ Bardi, each wrote a work
in the stile rappresentativo based on the model of ancient Greek tragedy.
Florence, 1600
It was on the occasion of the marriage of Henri
de Navarre and Maria de’ Medici in October
1600 that Ottavio Rinuccini was commissioned
to write the libretto for L’Euridice. Within the
space of only a few months, two composers
had set the same text to music, with the result that both Jacopo Peri and Giulio Caccini
contested the palm for the honour of being
acclaimed as the progenitor of the new genre.
Caccini was in charge of music at the
Medici court, coordinating the musical festivities and composing some of the music for Il
rapimento di Cefalo, the main spectacle at the
wedding celebrations. Another more intimate
spectacle was L’Euridice that was planned for
the following day. For this work, Peri was commissioned to write the music and to sing the
role of Orpheus, but Peri and Caccini agreed
between them that the latter would write
those passages that would be sung by his –
Caccini’s – daughters and his pupils. These
included a number of ensemble passages and
the whole of Eurydice’s role.
Some months after Peri’s L’Euridice had
received its first performance but before its
composer had had time to see it into print,
Caccini published his own version of the work
but then had to wait two years before it could
be performed. By then Caccini had already
written numerous madrigals for solo voice and
continuo that had proved remarkably successful. To be able to bequeath to posterity the first
printed opera must have had great symbolic
significance for him, hence, no doubt, his need
to assert his legitimate claims to have pipped
his rival to the post, even if those claims involved a certain mean-spiritedness.
History has often condemned Caccini for
his act of treachery, while rebuking Peri for his
feeble music, thought to be only of real interest to musicologists. Even so, their important
contributions have probably been undervalued,
for at the very moment that this new style was
first emerging, two talented and powerfully individualistic composers were setting the same
text to music.
A comparison between these two settings
helps us to gain a greater understanding of
the recitar cantando style: if the Italian language produces relatively similar rhythms in
the scores of these two rival composers, the
means that they deploy in giving expression to
Orpheus’s grief are very much their own. We
may limit ourselves to a handful of observations. In the first place, the highlighted words
are not always the same. Second, Peri tends to
explore each affect in detail, whereas Caccini
encompasses the line within a single gesture.
Third, one of Peri’s most striking features is his
ability to create a powerful expressive tension
by risking the inclusion of unexpected dissonances. And, fourth, Caccini uses seductive
melodic lines, whereas Peri seems to be afraid
that such lines may detract from the words,
with the result that he prefers to use repeated
notes. This comparison demonstrates that the
dogmatic precepts of the Camerata de’ Bardi
nonetheless allowed scope for each composer to assert his own distinctive personality.
Mantua, 1607
score and which were probably limited to a
violin and a recorder in Peri’s score play an
The history of opera does not end with the two
important role in L’Orfeo.
Florentine settings of L’Euridice, for the new
Monteverdi reveals true genius in his hanmedium very quickly caught on in the whole
dling of these new possibilities, bestowing on
of the rest of Italy. Claudio Monteverdi was
his Orpheus an aria that is altogether unique.
probably present at the first performance of
His divine dimension takes the upper line in
Peri’s opera, which we know was attended
by his patron, Vincenzo Gonzaga, the grand “Possente spirto”, but when addressing the
gods of the Underworld he replaces his parlar
duke of Mantua, for whom the 1607 carnival
cantando with a cantar di garbo, or an ornawas an opportunity to display great pomp and
mented vocal line. These virtuoso divisions,
ceremony worthy of rivalling the Florentine
which were probably worked out with the
spectacle of 1600. Monteverdi’s setting of the
singer who created the title role, Francesco
Orpheus legend was based on a libretto by
Alessandro Striggio. Here, too, the work af- Rasi, combine rhetorical force with delicate
poetry in an altogether extraordinary manner.
fords extremely interesting testimony to the
Moreover, the instruments of the orchestra
practices of the day. Monteverdi was not a
enter into a dialogue with the demigod: his
member of the Camerata de’ Bardi and felt
no obligation to follow its tenets to the let- lyre – an instrument that could be played
with a bow or plucked with the performer’s
ter. With the benefit of a degree of hindsight
fingers – is represented on some occasions
denied to his elders, he was able to retain
by a bowed violin or viols and on other occathe basic principles of the medium while not
denying himself the possibility of introduc- sions by a harp. The cornetts seem to symbolize the Underworld, the very depths of which
ing occasional passages of counterpoint, or
are evoked by means of echo effects.
prima prattica. Moreover, the grand duke was
able to offer Monteverdi substantial finan- Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo is generally regarded as the first “opera” by those unaware of
cial means that allowed him to use far more
the existence of Caccini and Peri as well as by
elaborate vocal and instrumental resources
than had been available to his Florentine pre- those who argue that it was necessary to wait
until Monteverdi arrived on the scene to find
decessors. As a result, melody instruments of
a composer capable of generating any real
a kind that had been missing from Caccini’s
cial undertaking dependent for the most part
on box-office receipts, and it was in order to
meet the expectations of an audience keen to
be seduced by extravagant spectacle that Aureli laced the story of Orpheus with numerous
secondary characters.
The musical language of Sartorio’s opera
marks a clear advance on that found in the operas of the earlier period: by then several deIl canto d’Orfeo
cades had passed, and the emotions that his
Peri, Caccini and Monteverdi were merely the music explores are more expansive, the texfirst of many composers to devote an opera to tual repetitions and melismas more frequent
Orpheus, a figure who also inspired Domenico as the vocal line becomes more lyrical. The
Belli, Stefano Landi, Luigi Rossi and Antonio Florentine recitative becomes more melodic,
Sartorio, among others. And it was Orpheus distinguishing itself from the arias, which
who introduced opera to France: commended become increasingly clearly structured and
to the French court by Cardinal Mazarin, Rossi identifiable as such, and are often composed
wrote his Orfeo for the Fontainebleau court in over an ostinato. Although the continuo con1647. Almost half a century after the pioneer- tinues to play a predominant role, the melody
ing exploits of their Italian forebears, Rossi instruments are no longer restricted to the
and his librettist Francesco Buti distanced ritornellos but occasionally accompany the
themselves from the antique purity of the myth voices.
and introduced a satirical and comic element
to the plot, which is further complicated by the La favola d’Orfeo
dramatic power. Such a judgement is clearly
extreme. If he had had no predecessors, Monteverdi would never have written L’Orfeo in the
way that he did, his pen unashamedly reflecting the influence of both Caccini and Peri. In
much the same way, the libretto by Rinuccini
– a brilliant and distinguished poet – clearly left
its mark on Striggio’s own version of the text.
introduction of intrigues and ruses initiated by Like every popular myth, that of Orpheus has
Venus and Cupid.
come down to us in a number of different
Antonio Sartorio composed the first Vene- versions, most notably those of Ovid and Virtian version of the myth, a setting of a libretto gil. And it continued to evolve in the hands of
by Aurelio Aureli that was first produced in the librettists who sought to breathe new life into
city in 1672. Opera in Venice was a commer- the fate of the legendary poet.
Orpheus is said to have been the son of the
Muse Calliope and of King Oeagrus of Thrace,
although some authorities state that his father
was Apollo. According to the rules of mythology, he was a demigod with correspondingly
limited powers.
Orpheus loves Eurydice. She is initially reluctant to respond to his advances but finally
succumbs. He expresses his delight at the idea
of marrying the beautiful nymph and declares
his passionate feelings for her. But, on their
wedding day, she is bitten by a snake and dies.
A heartbroken nymph brings him the sad news;
although grief-stricken, Orpheus responds
with equanimity, refusing to allow himself to
be downcast and deciding to follow a course
forbidden to mortals: he will descend into the
Underworld and persuade Hades to restore
Eurydice to him.
On arriving in the realm of the dead, Orpheus avails himself of his most trusty weapon: his singing. His prayer fails to win over
Hades. But the other gods of the Underworld
are by no means insensible to his entreaties,
and thanks to the intercession of Persephone,
Hades finally agrees to allow Eurydice to follow Orpheus back to Thrace. But he imposes
a condition on Orpheus, who is not allowed
to turn back and look at Eurydice. Overcome
by doubt, he does indeed turn round. Hades’s
will has been violated, and Orpheus loses his
beloved for ever.
Distraught, Orpheus cannot bring himself
to love another and refuses to contemplate any
other woman, even encouraging the Thracians
to turn to young men instead. Offended by such
disdain, the Bacchantes violently tear him apart
and scatter his limbs to the four winds. His head,
attached to his lyre, floats down the River Hebrus and ends up on Lesbos, the island of poetry.
La lira d’Orfeo
We have assembled a collection of different instruments that are all replicas of 17th-century
originals. From this point of view the impressive
list of instruments itemized in the score of Monteverdi’s Orfeo proved invaluable. Apart from
the two violins that enter into a dialogue with
a soprano recorder and two cornetts, several
continuo instruments are used to add colour
to the text and to underscore the affects that
it depicts. Among the plucked string instruments, we have two large chitarrones, or theorbos, an arpa doppia, a chitarra spagnola and
a ceterone (a bass cittern with metal strings
attached to a second, extended peg-box in
the manner of a theorbo) that evokes the Underworld. There are also three bowed strings
from the viol family: a bass viol, a violone (a
double-bass viol) and a lirone (a 13-string viol
first three operas to be devoted to him. Most
with a flat bridge that allows the performer
of Eurydice’s entries are taken from the later
to play three- or four-note chords). As for the
keyboard instruments, these include an or- operas by Sartorio and Rossi, since these two
composers gave her more to sing than their
gano di legno, whose principale stop is made
predecessors. We have also used the overof wood, providing a considerably full sound; a
ture from Rossi’s Orfeo (even though the comharpsichord with a single 8’ stop but a second
poser has left us only the bass line), as well as
register of leather plectra; and a virginal with
Orpheus’s death lament. The key role of the
gut strings. As far as possible, we have tried
to respect contemporary praxis and used un- Messenger is symbolized here by a theorbo
wound gut strings, short curved bows, quarter- toccata by Alessandro Piccinini. By way of a
prologue we have added Tarquinio Merula’s
comma meantone temperament, keyboards
“Foll’è ben che si crede”, which expresses
with split keys and so on.
Orpheus’s impossible love for Eurydice and
Although composers did not normally
prefigures their tragic destiny.
specify the type of instrumentation that they
We recorded Caccini’s Euridice some
may have had in mind, the continuo’s colours
years ago, and it was while we were working
play an essential role in the execution of the
on that recording that a comparison between
recitar cantando style. So many timbres leave
the interpreter considerable scope for cre- Caccini, Peri and Monteverdi struck us as the
ativity. Monteverdi is one of the few compos- obvious next step for us to take. By placing
ers to specify in certain – often brief – pas- these three composers in their historical context, we have been able to isolate their simisages in L’Orfeo which instruments were used
larities and their divergences. In turn this has
at what point in the score at the time of its
allowed us to experience at first hand the fasfirst performance. Since the instrumentation
cinating genesis of a musical language that is
is an integral part of the interpretation, it was
so important for western music. Both for them
usual to trust the giudizio – the judgement or
and for us, Orpheus has been the inevitable
discernment – of the performers.
medium for this adventure.
Il pianto d’Orfeo
We decided that our programme should focus
on Orpheus as he appears in key scenes in the
Nicolas Achten, February 2014
Translation: Stewart Spencer
A r i a d n e r ü h r t m i c h z u Trä n e n ,
und Orpheus führt mich
zum inniglichen Gebet…
Peri, Caccini, Monteverdi – weshalb wandten
sich so viele frühe Opernkomponisten der Figur des Orpheus zu? Vermutlich, weil er Text
und Musik verbindet: Als Dichter im antiken
Griechenland begleitete er seine Lieder auf
der Leier – und sein Gesang war bekannt dafür, jedes Lebewesen zutiefst zu rühren und
sogar Steine zum Weinen zu bringen. Orpheus
war also zweifellos der beste Botschafter für
die damals entstehende neue Musik: das recitar cantando.
Bei seiner Erwähnung denken die meisten
zunächst an den – bekanntermaßen genialen
– Claudio Monteverdi. Doch dessen Genie baut
auf den Werken seiner Vorgänger Jacopo Peri
und Giulio Caccini auf. Monteverdis Orfeo ist
in einen natürlichen geschichtlichen Ablauf
eingeschrieben, in eine Geschichte von Komponisten, Dichtern und Kunstgelehrten, die
sich auf die Suche nach einem verlorenen
Ideal begaben: die Zuhörer durch die richtige
Claudio Monteverdi
Sprache zu ergreifen. Die aufs Wesentliche
reduzierte Musik hatte kein anderes Ziel, als
dem Wort zu dienen. Diese CD versucht nachzuzeichnen, auf wie verschiedene Weise die
Künstler des 17. Jahrhunderts den Mythos
von Orpheus und Eurydike interpretierten.
Le nuove musiche
Mit der Geburt der Oper um 1600 in Florenz
nahm die Musikgeschichte eine radikale
Wende. Das neue Genre basierte auf einem
künstlerischen Ideal, das die Florentiner Camerata de’ Bardi entwickelt hatte. Zu dieser
Gelehrtengesellschaft gehörten die größten
und bekanntesten Humanisten der Stadt –
Künstler, Philosophen und Theoretiker. Ganz
im Sinne der Renaissance beschäftigten sie
sich intensiv mit der Antike und entdeckten
eine Reihe zuvor unveröffentlichter Texte
zur griechischen Dichtung und Tragödie, aus
denen sie herauslasen, dass die Vokalmusik
früherer Zeiten aus einer Art begleitetem
Sprechgesang bestanden habe; um einem
Publikum Gefühle zu vermitteln, mussten sowohl Rhythmus als auch Klang dem Text untergeordnet sein.
Die Kunstmusik der Renaissance war
mehrstimmig: Erklärte ein Liebender seine
Leidenschaft, übernahmen manchmal fünf
Sänger gleichzeitig diese Rolle! Der Gesangstext war dabei häufig kaum zu verstehen, da
die einzelnen Silben von den verschiedenen
Stimmen zu unterschiedlichen Zeitpunkten
gesungen wurden, und die Musiker neigten
stark dazu, als Verzierungen improvisierte
Diminutionen einzusetzen. Die Vokalmusik
litt also unter Problemen der Glaubwürdigkeit
und Verständlichkeit.
So ist leicht nachvollziehbar, dass der
antike Lesestoff maßgeblichen Einfluss auf
die neue Komponistengeneration ausübte.
Eine neue Musik war im Entstehen: das recitar cantando, auch stile recitativo oder (bei
Monteverdi) seconda prattica genannt. Die
Musiker stellten nicht nur Theorien zu ihrer
Funktionsweise und Notierung auf, sondern
setzten diese Prinzipien auch in die Praxis um:
Von nun an sollten die Sänger ihren Text in
Rhythmus und Intonation wie eine Deklamation vortragen.
Um die Vokalpartie adäquat zu begleiten,
erhöhte man das Klangvolumen und den Tonumfang der existierenden Instrumente. Ihre
Benennung erinnert zum Teil an die Antike:
Der chitarrone gemahnt an die Kithara, der
lirone an die Lyra. Die Komponisten notierten
dabei jeweils nur den Bass des größtenteils
improvisierten Continuo.
Im Jahr 1600 schrieben Emilio de’ Cavalieri,
Giulio Caccini und Jacopo Peri – alle drei gehörten zur Camerata de’ Bardi – dann jeweils
ein Werk im stile rappresentativo, das auf dem
Vorbild der griechischen Tragödie beruhte.
Florenz, 1600
Aus Anlass der Heirat Heinrichs IV. von Navarra mit Maria de’ Medici erhielt Ottavio
Rinuccini den Auftrag, ein Libretto zu verfassen: so enstand die Euridice. Im Laufe weniger Monate vertonten dann gleich zwei Komponisten seinen Text: Jacopo Peri und Giulio
Caccini. Beide machen sich damit den Titel
des Urhebers der neuen Gattung streitig.
Als Musikdirektor der Medici war Caccini
für die Koordination des musikalischen Parts
der Feierlichkeiten zuständig; er komponierte einen Teil des Intermezzos Il rapimento di
Cefalo, das im Zentrum des Hochzeitsfests
stand. Ein anderes, für einen kleineren Kreis
bestimmtes Schauspiel – eben die Euridice –
war für den folgenden Tag vorgesehen. Peri
sollte die Musik dazu schreiben und die Rolle
des Orpheus übernehmen; er vereinbarte aber
mit Caccini, dass dieser die Passagen verfassen sollte, die seine Töchter und Schüler
sangen: einige Ensembles und die Partie der
Einige Monate nach der Premiere des
Werks von Peri – und noch bevor dieser Zeit
fand, für eine Drucklegung seiner Oper zu
sorgen –, veröffentlichte Caccini dann eine eigene, komplette Version der Euridice, die erst
zwei Jahre später zur Aufführung kam. Der
Komponist hatte damals bereits eine Reihe
recht erfolgreicher Madrigale für Solostimme und Generalbass verfasst; der Nachwelt
die erste gedruckte »Oper« zu hinterlassen,
hatte für ihn also wohl vor allem symbolische
Bedeutung. So erklärt sich vielleicht sein Bedürfnis, einen »legitimen« Vorrang vor dem
Konkurrenten zu beanspruchen – selbst um
den Preis einer kleinen Gemeinheit.
Die Nachwelt hat die beiden Komponisten oft negativ beurteilt: Caccini wurde seine
Heimtücke und Peri die geringe Qualität seiner Werke vorgeworfen, deren Bedeutung
rein musikwissenschaftlicher Natur sei. Doch
der Wert ihres Beitrags zur Musikgeschichte wird vermutlich unterschätzt: Schließlich
vertonten hier zwei talentierte Komponisten
mit starker künstlerischer Persönlichkeit den
gleichen Text zu einer Zeit, als sich der neue
Stil gerade entfaltete.
So hilft ein Vergleich beider Versionen
denn auch, das recitar cantando besser zu
verstehen: Während der Rhythmus beider
Versionen aufgrund der verwendeten italienischen Sprache recht ähnlich ist, setzen die
Rivalen ihre eigenen Mittel ein, um Orpheus’
Tränen musikalisch auszudrücken. Um nur
einige Beispiele zu nennen: Die Komponisten
heben teils ganz andere Worte hervor; und
während Caccini den Vers in einer einzigen
musikalischen Geste ausdrückt, neigt Peri
dazu, jeden Affekt detailliert zu beschreiben.
Letzterer wagt zudem unerwartete Dissonanzen und erzeugt so eine starke expressive
Spannung. Caccini entwirft hinreißende Melodien, während Peri zu befürchten scheint,
diese könnten den Zuhörer vom Text ablenken
– entsprechend bevorzugt er Notenwiederholungen. Wie die Gegenüberstellung zeigt,
ließen die Vorgaben der Camerata de’ Bardi
den Komponisten genug Raum zu individueller
Mantua, 1607
Die Geschichte endet nicht mit den beiden
Euridice-Opern aus Florenz; schon bald verbreitete sich die neue Gattung in ganz Italien.
Die Aufführung der Version von Peri hatte
Claudio Monteverdi vermutlich zusammen
mit seinem Arbeitgeber Vincenzo Gonzaga,
dem Großherzog von Mantua, erlebt. Der
Karneval von 1607 bot diesem dann Gelegenheit, eine prunkvolle Antwort auf das
florentinische Schauspiel von 1600 zu geben.
Monteverdi schrieb zu diesem Anlass seinen
Orfeo auf ein Libretto von Alessandro Striggio.
Auch dieses Werk ist ein überaus interessantes musikgeschichtliches Zeugnis. Denn
Monteverdi war kein Mitglied der Camerata
de’ Bardi; er war also nicht verpflichtet, ihre
Lehrsätze wortwörtlich zu befolgen, und
konnte weit mehr Abstand dazu wahren als
seine Vorgänger. So berücksichtigte er zwar
ihre Grundprinzipien, erlaubte sich aber an
einzelnen Stellen eine kontrapunktischere
Schreibweise (prima prattica). Der Großherzog stellte ihm zudem bedeutende finanzielle
Mittel zur Verfügung, die ihm den Einsatz weit
größerer Vokal- und Instrumentalgruppen ermöglichten. Entsprechend spielen in seiner
Oper die Melodieinstrumente eine wichtige
Rolle; bei Caccini fehlen diese komplett, Peri
beschränkte sich vermutlich auf eine Violine
und eine Flöte.
Monteverdi nutzte diese vielfältigen Möglichkeiten überaus einfallsreich und verlieh
Orpheus einen einzigartigen Charakter. In
»Possente spirto« gewinnt dessen göttliche
Dimension die Oberhand; bei der Ansprache
der höllischen Gottheiten ersetzt er sein parlar cantando durch ein cantar di garbo (Gesang mit Verzierungen). Diese virtuosen Diminutionen (die Monteverdi wahrscheinlich
mit Francesco Rasi erarbeitete, der bei der
Uraufführung den Orpheus sang) bieten eine
bemerkenswerte Verbindung von Sprachgewalt und tief empfundener Poesie. Darüber
hinaus treten die Instrumente in einen Dialog
mit dem Halbgott: Der Klang seiner Leier, die
sich zupfen oder mit einem Bogen spielen
ließ, wird mal durch die Harfe, mal durch
gestrichene Saiten auf Viola oder Violine
ausgedrückt. Die Zinken wiederum scheinen
für den Hades zu stehen, und die Tiefe des
Höllenschlunds symbolisieren Echo-Effekte.
Monteverdis Orfeo gilt vielen, die von
Caccini und Peri nichts wissen oder meinen,
erst mit ihm könne man eigentlich von dramatischer Ausdruckskraft reden, als erste Oper
der Musikgeschichte. Doch ein solches Urteil
ist ganz offensichtlich ungerechtfertigt: Ohne
seine beiden Vorgänger hätte Monteverdi
den Orfeo nie in der vorliegenden Form verfasst, und ihr Einfluss schlägt sich deutlich in
seinem Kompositionsstil nieder. Ebenso hat
das Libretto des brillanten und renommierten Dichters Rinuccini zweifellos Spuren bei
Striggio hinterlassen.
Il canto d’Orfeo
Peri, Caccini und Monteverdi waren die Ersten,
die Orpheus eine »Oper« widmeten; doch der
Stoff inspirierte später auch andere, darunter
Domenico Belli, Stefano Landi, Luigi Rossi und
Antonio Sartorio.
Auch in Frankreich hielt die Oper also mit
Orpheus Einzug: Der von Kardinal Mazarin am
französischen Hof eingeführte Rossi schrieb
seinen Orfeo in Fontainebleau im Jahre 1647,
fast ein halbes Jahrhundert nach den Pionieren der Gattung. Er und sein Librettist
Francesco Buti wichen dabei vom antiken Mythos ab und bauten witzige und satirische Elemente ein. Zusätzliche Komplexität erhält die
Geschichte durch die hinzugefügten Intrigen
und Listen, zu denen Venus und Cupido greifen.
1672 vertonte dann Antonio Sartorio ein
Libretto von Aurelio Aureli und schuf den ersten venezianischen Orfeo. Die Opernbühnen
dieser Stadt waren bekanntlich kommerziell
orientiert und auf die erzielten Einnahmen angewiesen; um den Erwartungen des Publikums
zu entsprechen, peppte der Komponist die Geschichte mit einer Reihe von Nebenfiguren auf.
Im Laufe weniger Jahrzehnte hatte sich
die musikalische Sprache bereits stark verändert: Die Affekte nehmen jetzt mehr Raum ein,
Textwiederholungen und Melismen kommen
häufiger zum Einsatz, die Gesangslinie er-
scheint lyrischer. Das florentinische Rezitativ
wird melodischer und mit immer klarer strukturierten und als solche erkennbaren Arien
verflochten, die häufig auf einem Ostinato
aufbauen. Der Generalbass behält zwar seine
beherrschende Rolle, doch die Melodieinstrumente beschränken sich nicht mehr auf Ritornelle und begleiten manchmal die Stimmen.
La favola d’Orfeo
Wie jeder volkstümliche Mythos liegt auch
die Orpheus-Geschichte in verschiedenen
antiken Versionen vor (am bekanntesten
sind die von Ovid und Vergil); die Librettisten
hauchten dem Sänger dann neues Leben ein
und entwickelten den Mythos weiter.
Orpheus ist der Sohn der Muse Kalliope
und des thrakischen Königs Oiagros; einige
Quellen bezeichnen auch Apollo als seinen
Vater. Nach den Prinzipien der Mythologie
ist er also ein Halbgott und verfügt damit nur
über beschränkte Macht.
Er liebt Eurydike, die anfangs zögert, auf
seine Avancen einzugehen, ihm aber schließlich verfällt. Er besingt seine Freude, die
schöne Nymphe zu heiraten, und erklärt ihr
seine Liebe. Doch am Hochzeitstag wird Eurydike von einer Schlange gebissen und stirbt.
Eine Nymphe übermittelt verzweifelt die traurige Botschaft, der erschütterte Orpheus
nimmt die Nachricht jedoch philosophisch:
Er lässt sich nicht entmutigen und beschließt,
dem Verbot, in den Hades hinabzusteigen, zu
trotzen und Pluto zu überzeugen, ihm Eurydike zurückzugeben.
Als er im Königreich der Toten eintrifft,
setzt Orpheus seine stärkste Waffe ein: den
Gesang. Mit seiner Bitte gelingt es ihm zwar
nicht, Pluto zu überzeugen, doch die anderen
Gottheiten der Hölle lassen sich davon rühren,
und Proserpina setzt sich für ihn ein. So gibt
Pluto schließlich sein Einverständnis: Eurydike darf Orpheus zu den Ebenen Thrakiens
folgen – allerdings unter der Bedingung, dass
sich die Blicke der beiden Liebenden nicht
begegnen. Auf seinem Weg wird Orpheus
jedoch von Zweifeln gepackt: Er wendet sich
um und ignoriert damit den Willen Plutos. So
verliert er seine Geliebte auf immer.
Am Boden zerstört, ist Orpheus fortan
nicht mehr fähig, eine andere zu lieben: Er verweigert sich jeder Frau und fordert die Thraker
sogar auf, sich jungen Männern zuzuwenden.
Empört über seine Geringschätzung, zerstückeln ihn die Bacchantinnen und zerstreuen
seine Glieder. Verbunden mit seiner Leier, rollt
sein Kopf in den Fluss Euros und treibt nach
Lesbos, der Insel der Dichtung.
La lira d’Orfeo
Für diese Einspielung haben wir verschiedene Instrumente verwendet, die nach historischen Vorbildern des 17. Jahrhunderts
gebaut wurden; von großer Hilfe war dabei
die beeindruckende Instrumentenliste, die in
der Partitur von Monteverdis Orfeo aufgeführt
ist. Neben den beiden Violinen, die mit der
Sopranflöte und zwei Zinken im Wechselspiel
stehen, untermalen zahlreiche GeneralbassInstrumente den Text und unterstreichen die
affetti. Für die Passagen mit gezupften Saiten
verwenden wir zwei große chitarroni (Theorben), eine arpa doppia, eine chitarra spagnola
und ein ceterone (Erzcister mit Metallsaiten),
das sich hervorragend zur musikalischen
Darstellung der Hölle eignet. Hinzu kommen
drei Streichinstrumente aus der Familie der
Gamben: eine Bassgambe, ein violone (oder
Kontrabassviola) und ein lirone (Gambe mit 13
Saiten, deren flacher Steg es ermöglicht, dreioder vierstimmige Akkorde zu spielen). Was
die Tasteninstrumente betrifft: Hier setzen wir
ein organo di legno ein (mit den offenen Holzpfeifen ihres Prinzipal-Registers bietet diese
Orgel eine große Stimmfülle), außerdem ein
Cembalo (mit einem einzigen 8-Fuß-Register,
zu dem ein zweites Register mit Lederplektren
tritt) und ein Virginal mit Darmsaiten. Soweit
möglich, haben wir versucht, die historische
uns der Komponist nur die Basspartie hinterlassen hat) und die Arie über Orpheus’ Tod
in die Auswahl aufgenommen. Die zentrale
Rolle der Botschafterin wird hier durch eine
Toccata für Theorbe von Alessandro Piccinini angedeutet. Als eine Art Prolog dient das
»Foll’è ben che si crede« von Merula, das die
unmögliche Liebe des Halbgotts zu Eurydike
beschreibt und ihr tragisches Schicksal vorwegnimmt.
Die Eurydice von Caccini hatten wir bereits vor einigen Jahren eingespielt. Schon
bei der Arbeit an diesem Werk betrachteten
wir es als selbstverständlich, einen Vergleich
mit Peri und Monteverdi mit einzubeziehen.
Die Komponisten und Werke in ihren historischen Kontext zu stellen, ermöglichte uns,
ihre Ähnlichkeiten und Unterschiede herauszuarbeiten. So konnten wir die faszinierende
Entstehung dieser für die westliche Musik so
bedeutenden Klangsprache nachvollziehen.
Il pianto d’Orfeo
Und bei diesem Abenteuer führte weder für
Bei der Vorbereitung unseres Programms die Komponisten noch für uns ein Weg an Orhaben wir uns entschieden, die Figur des Or- pheus vorbei.
pheus anhand der drei ersten ihm gewidmeNicolas Achten, Februar 2014
ten Opern ins Zentrum zu stellen. Die meisten
Übersetzung: Felix Schoen
Auftritte Eurydikes entnahmen wir den Werken von Sartorio und Rossi, die ihr häufiger
La version française de la notice d’introduction
das Wort geben als die Vorgänger. Aus Rossis et
des textes chantés est disponible sur
Orfeo haben wir auch die Ouvertüre (von der
Aufführungspraxis zu respektieren: nicht
umsponnene Darmsaiten, kurze und runde
Streichbögen, mitteltönige Stimmung (¼ Komma), Klaviaturen mit doppelten schwarzen
Tasten usw.
Die damaligen Komponisten legten die
Instrumentation in der Regel nicht schriftlich
fest, doch die Tonfarben des Basso continuo
spielen bei der Ausführung des recitar cantando eine entscheidende Rolle. Die zahlreichen Klangfarben boten (und bieten) den Interpreten eine Reihe kreativer Möglichkeiten.
Monteverdi ist einer der wenigen Komponisten, der in einigen – teils nur kurzen – Passagen seines Orfeo angegeben hat, welche
Instrumente bei der Uraufführung an welcher
Stelle zum Einsatz kamen. Damals gehörte die
Instrumentierung untrennbar zur Interpretation; es war üblich, sich auf das giudizio (also
die Urteilskraft) der Musiker zu verlassen.
2 Foll’è ben che si crede
Foll’è ben che si crede
che per dolci lusinghe amorose,
o per fiere minacce sdegnose,
dal bel idolo mio ritragga il piede.
Cangi pur suo pensiero
chi ’l mio cor prigioniero
spera che goda la libertà;
dica, dica chi vuole, dica chi sa.
A fool, he who believes that
by sweet amorous flatteries
or by cruel disdainful menace
he might make me forsake my beloved.
Let him not think
that my imprisoned heart
longs to enjoy liberty;
let people say what they want, or what they know.
Altri per gelosia
spiri pur empie fiamme dal seno;
versi pure Megera ’l veneno
perché rompi al mio ben la fede mia.
Morte il viver mi toglia,
mai sia ver che si scioglia
quel caro laccio che ’l cor preso m’ha;
dica, dica chi vuole, dica chi sa.
May others out of jealousy
breathe impious flames from their breast;
let Megaera pour her venom over me
before I betray my loyalty to my beloved!
Death may put an end to my life,
but it shall never sever
that dear bond that has captured my heart;
Let people say what they want, or what they know.
Ben havrò tempo e loco
da sfogar l’amorose mie pene,
da temprar de l’amato mio bene
e dell’arso mio cor l’occulto foco.
E tra l’ombre e gli orrori
de’ notturni splendori
il mio ben furto s’asconderà;
dica, dica chi vuole, dica chi sa.
I shall certainly find the time and place
to pour out my amorous suffering,
to temper the secret fire
of my beloved and of my own burnt heart.
And amongst the shades and the horrors
of night’s splendours,
my furtive love will hide;
let people say what they want, or what they know.
4 Antri ch’a’ miei lamenti
Antri ch’a’ miei lamenti
rimbombaste dolenti,
amiche piagge
e voi, piante selvagge,
ch’alle dogliose rime
piegaste per pietà l’altere cime,
non fia più, no! che la mia nobil cetra
con flebil canto a lagrimar v’alletti,
ineffabil mercede, almi diletti
Amor cortese oggi al mio pianto impetra.
You caves, who to my laments
resounded with sorrow,
beloved river banks
and you, trees of the forest,
who to my sad rhymes
bent in pity your lofty treetops,
never again shall my noble lyre
invite you with its plaintive song to weep.
Ineffable recompense, with sweet delights
courteous Cupid today doth respond to my tears.
Ma, deh, perché sì lente
del bel carro immortal le rote accese
per l’eterno cammin tardono il corso?
Sferza, padre cortese,
a volanti destrier le groppe e ’l dorso;
spegni nell’onde omai,
spegni o nascondi i fiammeggianti rai.
But alas! Why so slowly
do the flaming wheels of the immortal chariot
delay their course on the eternal path?
Whip then, kind father,
the croup and back of your flying steeds;
put out for now your flaming rays
in the ocean’s waves!
Bella madre d’Amor, dall’onde fora
sorgi, e la notte ombrosa
di vaga luce scintillando indora.
Venga, deh venga omai la bella sposa
tra ’l notturno silenzio e i lieti orrori
a temprar tante fiamme e tanti ardori.
Fair mother of Cupid, from the waters
arise and bathe the sombre night
in a brilliant golden light!
If only, ah, if only my fair spouse would come
amidst the nocturnal silence and the happy darkness
to temper such flames and such ardour!
5 All’imperio d’Amore
All’imperio d’Amore chi non cederà,
s’a lui cede il valore d’ogni deità?
Pluto, che sì cocente il suo regno stimò,
un inferno più ardente pur da lui provò?
Who would not give in to the empire of love
if every deity cedes its importance to him?
Did Pluto, who believed that his kingdom burnt so fiercely,
realise there was a hell that was hotter still?
6 Rosa del ciel
Rosa del ciel, vita del mondo e degna
prole di lui che l’universo affrena,
sol che ’l tutto circondi e ’l tutto miri,
da gli stellanti giri,
dimmi, vedesti mai
di me più lieto e fortunato amante?
Rose of heaven, life of the world and worthy
descendant of him who rules the universe,
sun, you who surround and see all
from the star-studded spheres,
tell me: have you ever seen
a lover happier and more fortunate than me?
Fu ben felice il giorno,
mio ben, che pria ti vidi,
e più felice l’ora
che per te sospirai,
poich’al mio sospirar tu sospirasti:
felicissimo il punto
che la candida mano
pegno di pura fede me porgesti.
What a happy day it was,
my love, when first I set eyes on you.
And happier still was the hour
when I sighed for you,
for your sighs responded to mine:
even happier then was the moment
when you reached out your white hand
to me, filled with a faith so pure.
Se tanti cori avessi
quant’occhi ha ’l ciel eterno, e quante chiome
han questi colli almen il verde maggio,
tutti colmi sarieno e traboccanti
di quel piacer ch’oggi mi fa contento.
If I had as many hearts
as the eternal heavens have eyes,
or as these green May hills have leaves,
they would all be filled, indeed overflowing,
with that pleasure that makes me happy today.
7 Mio ben, teco ’l tormento
Mio ben, teco ’l tormento
più dolce io troverei
che con altri il contento,
ogni dolcezza è sol dove tu sei.
E per me Amor aduna
nel girar de’ tuoi sguardi ogni fortuna.
My love, to feel tormented next to you
would make me happier
than to be contented with others.
Sweetness accompanies you wherever you go,
and for me Cupid brings together
good fortune in your every glance.
8 Vi ricorda, o boschi ombrosi
Vi ricorda, o boschi ombrosi,
de’ miei lunghi aspri tormenti,
quando i sassi ai miei lamenti
rispondean fatti pietosi?
Do you recall, o shady woods,
my long and bitter torments,
when the stones responded
with pity to my laments?
Dite, allor non vi sembrai,
più d’ogn’altro sconsolato?
Or fortuna ha stil cangiato,
e ha volto in festa i guai.
Tell me, did I not seem to you then
more disconsolate than any other?
But now fortune has changed its tune,
turning my misery into joy.
Vissi già mesto e dolente,
or gioisco, e quegli affanni
che sofferti ho per tant’anni
fan più caro il ben presente.
My life used to be filled with sadness,
but now I rejoice, and those cares
that I suffered for so long
make the present all the more precious.
Sol per te, bella Euridice,
benedico il mio tormento,
dopo il duol vie più contento,
dopo il mal vie più felice.
For you alone, fair Eurydice,
I bless my torments.
After the sorrow, I live more content,
after the pain, I live more happily.
0 Tu se’ morta
Tu se’ morta, mia vita, ed io respiro?
Tu se’ da me partita
per mai più non tornare, ed io rimango?
No, che se i versi alcuna cosa ponno,
n’andrò sicuro a’ più profondi abissi,
e, intenerito il cor del re de l’ombre,
meco trarrotti a riveder le stelle:
o, se ciò negherammi empio destino,
rimarrò teco in compagnia di morte,
addio terra, addio cielo, e sole addio.
Are you dead, my love, and I am still breathing?
Have you departed hence,
never to return, and left me behind?
But no, if these verses have any power,
then I shall walk safely in the deepest abyss,
and having softened the heart of the king of the Underworld,
I shall take you away with me to gaze at the stars once more.
Or if cruel destiny refuses to grant me this wish,
then I’ll stay by your side in the company of the dead.
Farewell, earth! Farewell, heavens and sun!
w Non piango e non sospiro (Caccini)
e Non piango e non sospiro (Peri)
Non piango e non sospiro,
o mia cara Euridice,
ché sospirar, ché lagrimar non posso,
cadavero infelice;
o mio core, o mia spene, o pace, o vita,
ohimè, chi mi t’ha tolto?
Chi mi t’ha tolto, ohimè! dove sei gita?
Tosto vedrai ch’in vano
non chiamasti morendo il tuo consorte,
non son, non son lontano:
io vengo, o cara vita, o cara morte.
I do not weep, nor do I sigh,
my beloved Eurydice,
for I can neither sigh nor weep,
unfortunate corpse that I am.
O my heart, my hope! O peace, o life!
Alas, who took you away from me?
Who took you away from me? Where are you now?
Soon you will see it was not in vain
that you called while dying for your spouse.
I am not far away, not at all.
I come to you now, dear life, dear death!
z Funeste piagge (Caccini)
i Funeste piagge (Peri)
Funeste piagge, ombrosi, orridi campi
che di stelle o di sole
non vedeste già mai scintille e lampi,
rimbombate dolenti
al suon dell’angosciose mie parole,
mentre con mesti accenti
il perduto mio ben con voi sospiro,
e voi, deh! per pietà del mio martiro,
che nel misero cor dimora eterno,
lagrimate al mio pianto, ombre d’inferno!
O sinister strands, dark and horrible plains!
You who never saw the sun burn
nor the stars sparkle:
echo with sorrow, if you will,
at the sound of my words of anguish!
While with a sad accent
I weep with you for my love now lost,
and you, out of pity for my suffering,
which remains forever in my miserable heart,
weep at my tears, shades of Hell!
Ohimè, che su l’aurora
giunse all’occaso il sol de gl’occhi miei,
misero, e su quell’ora
che scaldarmi a’ bei raggi mi credei,
morte spense il bel lume, e freddo, e solo
restai fra pianto e duolo
com’angue suole in fredda piaggia il verno;
lagrimate al mio pianto, ombre d’inferno!
Alas, the dawn above
has reached the sunset in my eyes.
Poor wretch that I am! And at that hour
when I thought to warm myself in the sun’s fine rays,
death extinguished the light, and cold and alone
I was left amongst laments and sorrow,
like a snake on a cold wintry strand.
Weep, then, at my tears, you shades of Hell!
E tu, mentr’al ciel piacque,
luce di questi lumi
fatti al tuo dipartir fontane e fiumi,
che fai per entro i tenebrosi orrori?
Forse t’affliggi e piangi
l’acerbo fato e gl’infelici amori?
And you, who, as it pleased the heavens,
turned the light of these eyes
with your departure into fountains and rivers,
what are you doing amongst the horrors of darkness?
Perhaps you are afflicted, and bewail
your bitter fate and your unhappy loves?
Deh, se scintilla ancora
ti scalda il sen di quei sì cari ardori,
senti, mia vita, senti
quai pianti e quai lamenti
versa il tuo caro Orfeo dal cor interno;
lagrimate al mio pianto, ombre d’inferno!
Ah, if a spark should still
warm your heart with that fond ardour,
listen, my love, o listen
to the tears and lamentations that
your beloved Orpheus pours from the depths of his heart!
Weep, then, at my tears, you shades of Hell!
o Orfeo, tu dormi?
Orfeo, tu dormi? e ne gl’abissi oscuri
lasci Euridice e l’Amor suo ti scordi?
Così a la lira il dolce canto accordi,
e dal regno infernal trarmi non curi?
Orpheus, are you asleep? Would you abandon
Eurydice amongst the dark abysses and forget her love?
Do you strike up your soft song on the lyre and
no longer care to wrest me from this infernal kingdom?
p Se desti pietà
Se desti pietà
ne’ tronchi e ne’ sassi,
volgendo anco i passi
nel regno del pianto,
là pur il tuo canto
pietà troverà.
If you awaken pity
amongst the tree trunks and stones,
as you walk
through the kingdom of tears,
there too your song
will find pity.
Risvegliati, su,
mio sposo diletto,
deh, vieni, t’aspetto
tra l’ombre qua giù.
Wake up again,
my dear husband!
Come to me, I await you
down here amongst the shadows.
a Possente spirto
Possente spirto e formidabil nume,
senza cui far passaggio a l’altra riva
alma da corpo sciolta in van presume,
Powerful spirit and formidable deity,
without whom a soul separated from the body
cannot hope to travel to the opposite bank;
non viv’io no, che poi di vita è priva
mia cara sposa; il cor non è più meco,
e senza cor com’esser può ch’io viva?
I am no longer alive since my beloved spouse
was deprived of life; my heart has gone.
and without a heart, how can I be alive?
A lei volt’ho il cammin per l’aer cieco,
a l’inferno non già, ch’ovunque stassi
tanta bellezza il Paradiso ha seco.
Towards her I walk through the blind air,
though not as far as Hell: for where
there is such beauty, Paradise lies.
Orfeo son io che d’Euridice i passi
seguo per queste tenebrose arene,
ove già mai per huom mortal non vassi.
My name is Orpheus, and I follow the steps
of Eurydice across these dark plains
where no mortal man has been before.
O de le mie luci serene
s’un vostro sguardo può tornarmi in vita,
ahi, chi niega il conforto a le mie pene?
Ah, if from your serene eyes
one sole glance can bring me back to life,
ah, who could refuse me comfort for my grief?
Sol tu, nobile dio, puoi darmi aita,
né temer dei, ché sopr’un’aurea cetra
sol di corde soavi armo le dita,
contra cui rigid’alma in van s’impetra.
You alone, noble God, can come to my aid.
Have no fear, for with this golden lyre
my fingers are armed but with soft strings,
whose song even a rigid soul cannot resist.
d Ahi, vista troppo dolce
Ahi, vista troppo dolce e troppo amara!
Così per troppo amor dunque mi perdi?
Et io, misera, perdo
il poter più godere
e di luce e di vita, e perdo insieme
te, d’ogni ben più caro, o mio consorte.
Ah, what sweet yet bitter sight!
Will you lose me now with too much love?
And I, miserable wretch,
lose the power to enjoy the light,
to enjoy life, and lose you at the same time,
you, my love, dearest to me of all things.
g Muove Orfeo l’empia Dite
Muove Orfeo l’empia Dite,
piange, prega, e sospira,
e impetra pietate
al suon di lira.
Orpheus moves even Hades to mercy;
he weeps, he prays, he sighs,
and he begs for pity
with the sound of his lyre.
Io piango, e prego una crudele e bella
d’amor troppo rubella;
così vuol il mio fato.
S’io morissi cantando, o me beato!
I weep and beg a cruel beauty
who is miserly with her love.
This is what fate decrees for me.
if I could but die singing, how happy I should be!
h Lasciate Averno
Lasciate Averno, o pene, e me seguite.
Quel ben ch’a me si toglie
riman là giù, né ponno angosce e doglie
star già mai seco unite.
Più penoso ricetto, più disperato loco
del mio misero petto non ha l’eterno foco;
son le miserie mie solo infinite.
Lasciate Averno, o pene, e me seguite.
Leave the Underworld, o my troubles, and follow me!
My beloved has been taken from me
and remains in the depths, but neither anguish nor sorrow
must ever be allowed to affect her.
The eternal fire can find no more painful refuge,
no more desolate place than my miserable heart:
only my own misery is infinite.
Leave the Underworld, o my troubles, and follow me!
E voi, del tracio suol piagge ridenti,
ch’imparando a gioir dalla mia cetra
gareggiaste con l’Etra,
or all’aspetto sol de’ miei tormenti
d’orror vi ricoprite.
And you, laughing strands of Thrace,
who, learning to love the sound of my lyre,
now compete with the heavens,
henceforth, as you behold my torments,
you will be filled with horror.
E tu, cetra infelice,
oblia gli accenti tuoi già sì canori,
e per ogni pendice vien pur meco
piangendo i miei dolori.
Son le gioie per noi tutte smarrite.
Lasciate Averno, o pene, e me seguite.
And you, unfortunate lyre,
forget your customary melodious sounds
and come with me over every slope,
weeping at my sorrow.
All joy is lost to us forever.
Leave the Underworld, o my troubles, and follow me!
Replica by Carlos González after Gironimo Campi
(1600) for the Musée de la musique, Paris
Nachbau von Carlos González nach Gironimo
Campi (1600) für das Musée de la musique, Paris
Ma che tardo a morire,
se può con lieta sorte
ricondurmi la morte
alla bella cagion del mio languire?
Yet why hesitate to die,
if by a happy stroke of fate
death can take me back
to the beauty who causes me to languish so?
Texts by: Pio di Savoia (2),
Ottavio Rinuccini (4, 12, 13, 16, 18)
Francesco Buti (5, 7, 26),
Alessandro Striggio (6, 8, 10, 21, 23)
Aurelio Aureli (19, 20),
B. Saracelli (25)
Translation: Clive Williams
The ceterone (Fr. cisteron; Ger. Erzcister) is a member of the cittern family, instruments with a flat
body and metal strings that can be traced back to
the medieval citole. The word “ceterone” is found
at a very early date in 17th-century Italian sources
and refers to a particular form of cittern in which
the longest and most resonant bass strings are attached to an extended peg-box in order to expand
the instrument’s downward range and strengthen
the bass register. The use of this specific type of cittern in the 16th and 17th centuries is symptomatic of
our predecessors’ fondness for a metallic, strident
sound that Mersenne described as “nazardante”
and which also served to enrich the colours of the
continuo group.
The Musée de la musique has evolved a philosophy of building replica instruments that meet
the demands of its cultural events such as concerts,
recordings and performances. This principle privileges the reproduction or reconstruction of certain
particularly interesting instruments over the sometimes risky restoration of originals, a process that
has often resulted in the distortion and loss of the
original instrument’s authenticity in ways that more
often than not cannot be reversed.
Die Erzcister (italienisch ceterone) gehört zur Familie der Cistern, Instrumente mit flachem Boden und
Metallsaiten, die sich in direkter Linie vom mittelalterlichen Instrumentarium herleiten lassen. Das Wort
ceterone erschien sehr früh in den italienischen Quellen des 17. Jahrhunderts und bezeichnet eine besondere Art der Cister, bei der man die tiefen, längsten
und klangvollsten Seiten über eine Erweiterung des
Halses hinzufügt, um so den Ambitus des Instruments
zu erweitern und die tiefen Register zu verstärken.
Die Verwendung dieses speziellen Typs im 16. und 17.
Jahrhundert ist bezeichnend für die Vorliebe unserer
Vorfahren für metallische, grelle Klänge, nazardantes
wie Mersenne sagte, die auch dazu dienten, die Farben des Continuos zu bereichern.
Das Musée de la musique hat eine Philosophie
des Baus von Instrumenten im Faksimile entwickelt,
um den Erfordernissen seiner kulturellen Veranstaltungen (Konzerte, Aufnahmen, Aufführungen) gerecht
zu werden. Dieses Prinzip gibt der Reproduktion bzw.
Rekonstruktion von einigen besonders interessanten
Instrumenten den Vorzug gegenüber der mitunter
sehr gewagten Restauration von Originalen der Vergangenheit, bei der die Authentizität der Instrumente
oftmals in einer Weise verfälscht wurde, die so gut
wie nie rückgängig gemacht werden kann.
Joël Dugot, Curator
Musée de la musique, Paris
Joël Dugot, Konservator
Musée de la musique, Paris