Six Elizabethan Songs (Dominick Argento 90)


Dominick Argento (27 ottobre 1927): Six Elizabethan Songs (1958). Barbara Bonney, soprano; André Previn, pianoforte.


I. Spring (Thomas Nashe, 1567-1601: da Summer’s Last Will and Testament, 1592)

Spring, the sweet Spring, is the year’s pleasant king;
Then blooms each thing, then maids dance in a ring,
Cold doth not sting, the pretty birds do sing,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The palm and may make country houses gay,
Lambs frisk and play, the shepherd pipes all day,
And we hear aye birds tune this merry lay,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!

The fields breathe sweet, the daisies kiss our feet,
Young lovers meet, old wives a-sunning sit,
In every street these tunes our ears do greet,
Cuckoo, jug-jug, pu-we, to-witta-woo!
Spring! The sweet Spring!


II. Sleep (Samuel Daniel, 1562-1619: da Delia, 1592) [a 1:38]

Care-charmer Sleep, son of the sable Night,
Brother to Death, in silent darkness born,
Relieve my anguish and restore thy light,
With dark forgetting of my cares, return;
And let the day be time enough to mourn
The shipwreck of my ill-adventur’d youth:
Let waking eyes suffice to wail their scorn,
Without the torment of the night’s untruth.
Cease, dreams, th’ images of day-desires
To model forth the passions of the morrow;
Never let rising sun approve you liars,
To add more grief to aggravate my sorrow.
Still let me sleep, embracing clouds in vain;
And never wake to feel the day’s disdain.


III. Winter (William Shakespeare, 1564-1616: da Love’s Labour’s Lost V/2, 1597) [a 4:45]

When icicles hang by the wall
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail;
When blood is nipt and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl:
Tu-who!
Tu-whit! Tu-who! — A merry note!
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson’s saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marian’s nose looks red and raw;
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl
Then nightly sings the staring owl:
Tu-who!
Tu-whit! Tu-who! — A merry note!
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.


IV. Dirge (Shakespeare: da Twelfth Night II/4, 1602) [a 6:22]

Come away, come away, death,
And in sad cypress let me be laid;
Fly away, fly away, breath;
I am slain by a fair cruel maid.
My shroud of white, stuck all with yew,
O prepare it!
My part of death, no one so true
Did share it.

Not a flower, not a flower sweet,
On my black coffin let there be strown;
Not a friend, not a friend greet
My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown:
[A thousand, thousand sighs to save,]
Lay me, O where
Sad true lover never find my grave,
To weep there!


V. Diaphenia (Henry Constable, 1562-1613: Damelus’ Song to his Diaphenia, c1600) [a 9:51]

Diaphenia, like the daffadowndilly,
White as the sun, fair as the lily,
Heigh ho, how I do love thee!
I do love thee as my lambs
Are belovèd of their dams:
How blest were I if thou would’st prove me.

Diaphenia, like the spreading roses,
That in thy sweets all sweets encloses,
Fair sweet, how I do love thee!
I do love thee as each flower
Loves the sun’s life-giving power;
For dead, thy breath to life might move me.

Diaphenia, like to all things blessèd,
When all thy praises are expressèd,
Dear joy, how I do love thee!
As the birds do love the spring,
Or the bees their careful king, —
Then in requite, sweet virgin, love me!


VI. Hymn (Ben Jonson, 1572-1637: Hymn to Diana) [a 11:44]

Queen and huntress, chaste and fair,
Now the sun is laid to sleep,
Seated in thy silver chair,
State in wonted manner keep:
Hesperus entreats thy light,
Goddess excellently bright.

Earth, let not thy envious shade
Dare itself to interpose;
Cynthia’s shining orb was made
Heav’n to clear when day did close;
Bless us then with wishèd sight,
Goddess excellently bright.

Lay thy bow of pearl apart,
And thy crystal shining quiver;
Give unto the flying hart
Space to breathe, how short so-ever:
Thou that mak’st a day of night,
Goddess excellently bright.

(La poesia di Ben Jonson è stata musicata anche da Benjamin Britten: fa parte della Serenade per tenore, corno e archi op. 31, che può essere ascoltata in questa pagina del presente blog.)


Annunci

Leggenda

Pëtr Il’ič Čajkovskij (1840-1893): Leggenda per voce e pianoforte op. 54 n. 5 (1883). Nicolai Gedda, tenore; Geoffrey Parsons, pianoforte.
Il testo è costituito da una traduzione russa, eseguita da Aleksej Nikolaevič Pleščeev (1825-1893), di una poesia, un tantino antisemita, di Richard Henry Stoddard (1825-1903) intitolata Roses and Thorns (vedi oltre).


Lo stesso brano nell’orchestrazione di Čajkovskij, interpretato (con testo inglese) da Peter Pears con l’English Chamber Orchestra diretta da Benjamin Britten.


Versione per coro a cappella eseguita dal Coro da camera del Ministero della cultura dell’URSS diretto da Valerij Kuzmič Poljanskij. Registrazione del 1988.


Anton Stepanovič Arenskij (1861-1906): Variazioni per archi sopra un tema di Čajkovskij op. 35a (1894). London Symphony Orchestra, dir. John Barbirolli. Registrazione del 1947.


R. H. Stoddard: Roses and Thorns (1857).
The young child Jesus had a garden,
Full of roses, rare and red:
And thrice a day he watered them,
To make a garland for his head.


When they were full-blown in the garden,
He called the Jewish children there,
And each did pluck himself a rose,
Until they stripped the garden bare.


«And now how will you make your garland?
For not a rose your path adorns.»
«But you forget», he answered them,
«That you have left me still the thorns.»


They took the thorns, and made a garland,
And placed it on his shining head;
And where the roses should have shone
Were little drops of blood instead!

Aleksej Nikolaevič Pleščeev: Легенда (Leggenda, 1877).
Был у Христа-младенца сад,
И много роз взрастил он в нём;
Он трижды в день их поливал,
Чтоб сплесть венок себе потом.


Когда же розы расцвели,
Детей еврейских созвал он;
Они сорвали по цветку,
И сад был весь опустошён.


«Как ты сплетешь теперь венок?
В твоём саду нет больше роз!»
«Вы позабыли, что шипы
Остались мне», сказал Христос.


И из шипов они сплели
Венок колючий для него,
И капли крови вместо роз
Чело украсили его.


Serenata. Per i 100 anni di Benjamin Britten


Benjamin Britten (1913-1976): Serenade per tenore, corno e archi op. 31 (1943). Peter Pears, tenore; Dennis Brain, corno; BBC Symphony Orchestra, direttore John Hollingsworth.
Britten nacque cent’anni fa, il 22 novembre del 1913, a Lowestoft, nel Suffolk.

I. Prologue (assolo del corno)
II. Pastoral [a 1:19]
III. Nocturne [a 5:16]
IV. Elegy [a 8:50]
V. Dirge [a 13:43]
VI. Hymn [a 17:42]
VII. Sonnet [a 19:42]
VIII. Epilogue (replica del Prologue eseguita dietro le quinte)


Testi

II. Pastoral (Charles Cotton, 1630-1687: The Evening Quatrains)

The day’s grown old; the fainting sun
Has but a little way to run,
And yet his steeds, with all his skill,
Scarce lug the chariot down the hill.

The shadows now so long do grow,
That brambles like tall cedars show;
Mole hills seem mountains, and the ant
Appears a monstrous elephant.

A very little, little flock
Shades thrice the ground that it would stock;
Whilst the small stripling following them
Appears a mighty Polypheme.

And now on benches all are sat,
In the cool air to sit and chat,
Till Phoebus, dipping in the west,
Shall lead the world the way to rest.


III. Nocturne (Alfred Tennyson, 1809-1892: Blow, bugle, blow)

The splendour falls on castle walls
And snowy summits old in story:
The long light shakes across the lakes,
And the wild cataract leaps in glory:
  Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
  Bugle blow; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O hark, O hear! how thin and clear,
And thinner, clearer, farther going!
O sweet and far from cliff and scar
The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
  Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying:
  Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

O love, they die in yon rich sky,
They faint on hill or field or river:
Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
And grow for ever and for ever.
  Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
  And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.


IV. Elegy (William Blake, 1757-1827: The Sick Rose)

O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm,
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark, secret love
Does thy life destroy.


V. Dirge (Anonimo del sec. XV: Lyke-Wake Dirge)

This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
Every nighte and alle,
Fire and fleet and candle‑lighte,
And Christe receive thy saule.

When thou from hence away art past,
Every nighte and alle,
To Whinny‑muir thou com’st at last;
And Christe receive thy saule.

If ever thou gavest hosen and shoon,
Every nighte and alle,
Sit thee down and put them on;
And Christe receive thy saule.

If hosen and shoon thou ne’er gav’st nane
Every nighte and alle,
The whinnes sall prick thee to the bare bane;
And Christe receive thy saule.

From Whinny‑muir when thou may’st pass,
Every nighte and alle,
To Brig o’ Dread thou com’st at last;
And Christe receive thy saule.

From Brig o’ Dread when thou may’st pass,
Every nighte and alle,
To Purgatory fire thou com’st at last;
And Christe receive thy saule.

If ever thou gavest meat or drink,
Every nighte and alle,
The fire sall never make thee shrink;
And Christe receive thy saule.

If meat or drink thou ne’er gav’st nane,
Every nighte and alle,
The fire will burn thee to the bare bane;
And Christe receive thy saule.

This ae nighte, this ae nighte,
Every nighte and alle,
Fire and fleet and candle‑lighte,
And Christe receive thy saule.


VI. Hymn (Ben Jonson, 1572-1637: Hymn to Diana)

Queen and huntress, chaste and fair,
Now the sun is laid to sleep,
Seated in thy silver chair,
State in wonted manner keep:
Hesperus entreats thy light,
Goddess excellently bright.

Earth, let not thy envious shade
Dare itself to interpose;
Cynthia’s shining orb was made
Heav’n to clear when day did close:
Bless us then with wishèd sight,
Goddess excellently bright.

Lay thy bow of pearl apart,
And thy crystal shining quiver;
Give unto the flying hart
Space to breathe, how short so-ever:
Thou that mak’st a day of night,
Goddess excellently bright.


VII. Sonnet (John Keats, 1795-1821: To Sleep)

O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom‑pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:

O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close,
In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes.
Or wait the «Amen» ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities.

Then save me, or the passèd day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,
Save me from curious conscience, that still lords

Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oilèd wards,
And seal the hushèd casket of my Soul.

serenata