Rio Grande

Constant Lambert (23 agosto 1905 - 21 agosto 1951): The Rio Grande, cantata per voce solista, coro, pianoforte, ottoni, archi e percussione (1927) su testo di Sacheverell Sitwell. Jean Temperley, mezzosoprano; London Madrigal Singers, dir. Christopher Bishop; London Symphony Orchestra, dir. André Previn.

By the Rio Grande
They dance no sarabande
On level banks like lawns above the glassy, lolling tide;
Nor sing they forlorn madrigals
Whose sad note stirs the sleeping gales
Till they wake among the trees and shake the boughs,
And fright the nightingales;
But they dance in the city, down the public squares,
On the marble pavers with each colour laid in shares,
At the open church doors loud with light within.
At the bell’s huge tolling,
By the river music, gurgling, thin
Through the soft Brazilian air.
The Comendador and Alguacil are there
On horseback, hid with feathers, loud and shrill
Blowing orders on their trumpets like a bird’s sharp bill
Through boughs, like a bitter wind, calling
They shine like steady starlight while those other sparks are failing
In burnished armour, with their plumes of fire,
Tireless while all others tire.
The noisy streets are empty and hushed is the town
To where, in the square, they dance and the band is playing ;
Such a space of silence through the town to the river
That the water murmurs loud –
Above the band and crowd together;
And the strains of the sarabande,
More lively than a madrigal,
Go hand in hand
Like the river and its waterfall
As the great Rio Grande rolls down to the sea.
Loud is the marimba’s note
Above these half -salt waves,
And louder still the tympanum,
The plectrum, and the kettle-drum,
Sullen and menacing
Do these brazen voices ring.
They ride outside,
Above the salt-sea’s tide.
Till the ships at anchor there
Hear this enchantment,
Of the soft Brazilian air,
By those Southern winds wafted,
Slow and gentle,
Their fierceness tempered
By the air that flows between.


CL

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