Alessandro Scarlatti: Se tu della mia morte (If you of my death…)

12 03 2009
If you wont give me death, give me your eyes

"Il dardo del tuo sguardo..."

A mournful song in which a spurned lover blames the beloved for dooming them to death. The two-voice imitation in the piano is a nice illustration of the two characters represented in this song.

Many singers begin by studying what I call the “24 greatest hits.” Sometimes, though, teachers and students alike weary of these tried-and-true friends. The Anthology of Italian Song of the 17th and 18th Centuries includes not only all of the 24 Italian Songs and Arias, they include many less-familiar gems, as well.

There was no translation at recmusic.org, so I’ve written one:

If you, by this strong right hand,
do not want to give the glory of my death,
you give it with your own eyes,
for the dart of your gaze
is that which kills me and consumes me.

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Giuseppe Verdi: La seduzione

5 03 2009
Fu sedotta!

Fu sedotta!

Verdi tells the story of a woman who is seduced and dies in shame nine months later. Perhaps surprisingly, the song does not sound particularly sad, seeming instead to be a detached narrative, with a matter-of-fact setting of the last line: “No cross, no cypress, no stone bore her name.”