Copland & Dickinson

Aaron Copland (14 novembre 1900 - 1990): Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson (1950). Barbara Bonney, soprano; André Previn, pianoforte.

  1. Nature, the gentlest mother

    Nature, the gentlest mother
    Impatient of no child,
    The feeblest or the waywardest, —
    Her admonition mild

    In forest and the hill
    By traveller is heard,
    Restraining rampant squirrel
    Or too impetuous bird.

    How fair her conversation,
    A summer afternoon, —
    Her household, her assembly;
    And when the sun goes down

    Her voice among the aisles
    Incites the timid prayer
    Of the minutest cricket,
    The most unworthy flower.

    When all the children sleep
    She turns as long away
    As will suffice to light her lamps;
    Then, bending from the sky,

    With infinite affection
    And infiniter care,
    Her golden finger on her lip,
    Wills silence everywhere.

  2. There came a wind like a bugle [4:00]

    There came a wind like a bugle;
    It quivered through the grass,
    And a green chill upon the heat
    So ominous did pass

    We barred the windows and the doors
    As from an emerald ghost;
    The doom’s electric moccasin
    That very instant passed.

    On a strange mob of panting trees,
    And fences fled away,
    And rivers where the houses ran
    The living looked that day,

    The bell within the steeple wild
    The flying tidings whirled.
    How much can come and much can go,
    And yet abide the world!

  3. Why do they shut me out of heaven? [5:29]

    Why do they shut Me out of Heaven?
    Did I sing too loud?
    But I can say a little “Minor”
    Timid as a Bird!

    Wouldn’t the Angels try me
    Just once more
    Just see if I troubled them
    But don’t shut the door!

    Oh, if I were the Gentleman
    In the “White Robe”
    And they were the little Hand that knocked
    Would I forbid?

    [Why do they shut Me out of Heaven?
    Did I sing too loud?]

  4. The world feels dusty [7:35]

    The World feels Dusty
    When We stop to Die
    We want the Dew then
    Honors taste dry

    Flags vex a Dying face
    But the least Fan
    Stirred by a friend’s Hand
    Cools like the Rain

    Mine be the Ministry
    When they Thirst comes
    Dews of Thyself to fetch
    And Holy Balms

  5. Heart, we will forget him [9:30]

    Heart, we will forget him
    You and I, tonight.
    You may forget the warmth he gave,
    I will forget the light.

    When you have done, pray tell me,
    That I my thoughts may dim;
    Haste! lest while you’re lagging,
    I may remember him!

  6. Dear March, come in! [11:41]

    Dear March, come in!
    How glad I am!
    I looked for you before.
    Put down your hat –
    You must have walked –
    How out of breath you are!
    Dear March, how are you?
    And the rest?
    Did you leave Nature well?
    Oh, March, come right upstairs with me,
    I have so much to tell!

    I got your letter, and the bird’s;
    The maples never knew
    That you were coming, – I declare,
    How red their faces grew!
    But, March, forgive me –
    And all those hills
    You left for me to hue,
    There was no purple suitable,
    You took it all with you.

    Who knocks? that April?
    Lock the door!
    I will not be pursued!
    He stayed away a year, to call
    When I am occupied.
    But trifles look so trivial
    As soon as you have come,
    And blame is just as dear as praise
    And praise as mere as blame.

  7. Sleep is supposed to be [13:53]

    Sleep is supposed to be,
    By souls of sanity,
    The shutting of the eye.

    Sleep is the station grand
    Down which on either hand
    The hosts of witness stand!

    Morn is supposed to be,
    By people of degree,
    The breaking of the day.

    Morning has not occurred!
    That shall aurora be
    East of Eternity;

    One with the banner gay,
    One in the red array, –
    That is the break of day.

  8. When they come back [16:57]

    When they come back if Blossoms do
    I always feel a doubt
    If Blossoms can be born again
    When once the Art is out

    When they begin, if Robins may,
    I always had a fear
    I did not tell, it was their last Experiment
    Last Year,

    When it is May, if May return,
    Had nobody a pang
    Lest in a Face so beautiful
    He might not look again?

    If I am there,
    One does not know
    What Party one may be
    Tomorrow, but if I am there
    I take back all I say

  9. I felt a funeral in my brain [18:48]

    I felt a funeral in my brain,
    And mourners to and fro,
    Kept treading, treading, till it seemed
    That sense was breaking through.

    And when they all were seated
    A service like a drum
    Kept beating, beating, till I thought
    My mind was going numb.

    And then I heard them lift a box,
    And creak across my soul
    With those same boots of lead, again.
    Then space began to toll

    As all the heavens were a bell,
    And Being but an ear,
    And I and silence some strange race,
    Wrecked, solitary, here.

  10. I’ve heard an organ talk sometimes [20:51]

    I’ve heard an Organ talk, sometimes
    In a Cathedral Aisle,
    And understood no word it said
    Yet held my breath, the while

    And risen up and gone away,
    A more Berdardine Girl
    Yet know not what was done to me
    In that old Hallowed Aisle.

  11. Going to heaven! [22:54]

    Going to Heaven!
    I don’t know when,
    Pray do not ask me how, –
    Indeed I’m too astonished
    To think of answering you!
    Going to Heaven! –
    How dim it sounds!
    And yet it will be done
    As sure as flocks go home at night
    Unto the shepherd’s arm!

    Perhaps you’re going too!
    Who knows?
    If you should get there first
    Save just a little place for me
    Close to the two I lost!
    The smallest “robe” will fit me,
    And just a bit of “crown”;
    For you know we do not mind our dress
    When we are going home.

    Going to Heaven!
    I’m glad I don’t believe it
    For it would stop my breath,
    And I’d like to look a little more
    At such a curious earth!
    I am glad they did believe it
    Whom I have never found
    Since the mighty autumn afternoon
    I left them in the ground.

  12. The Chariot [25:15]

    Because I could not stop for Death —
    He kindly stopped for me —
    The carriage held but just ourselves —
    and Immortality.

    We slowly drove — he knew no haste,
    And I had put away
    My labour, and my leisure too
    For His Civility —

    We passed the school, where children played,
    Their lessons scarcely done.
    We passed the fields of gazing grain,
    We passed the setting sun.

    We paused before a house that seemed
    a swelling of the ground;
    The roof was scarcely visible,
    The cornice but a mound.

    Since then ’tis centuries; but each
    Feels shorter than the day
    I first surmised the horses’ heads
    Were toward eternity.

ED

Pubblicità

Six Elizabethan Songs

Dominick Argento (27 ottobre 1927 - 2019): Six Elizabethan Songs (1958). Barbara Bonney, soprano; André Previn, pianoforte.


  1. 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!

  2. Sleep (Samuel Daniel, 1562-1619: da Delia, 1592)

    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.

  3. Winter (William Shakespeare, 1564-1616: da Love’s Labour’s Lost V/2, 1597)

    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.

  4. Dirge (Shakespeare: da Twelfth Night II/4, 1602)

    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!

  5. Diaphenia (Henry Constable, 1562-1613: Damelus’ Song to his Diaphenia, c1600)

    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!

  6. 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.


Carpe diem

William Lawes (1602 - 24 settembre 1645): Gather ye rosebuds, song su testo di Robert Herrick. Anna Dennis, soprano; ensemble Voices of Music.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he’s to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry;
For, having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.

John Keating-Robin Williams invita i propri allievi a meditare sui versi di Herrick:


Fiero sostenitore del partito realista, William Lawes cadde sul campo di battaglia di Rowton Heath, presso Chester. Carlo I dispose che gli fossero dedicate speciali onoranze funebri e gli conferì postumo il titolo di Father of Musick.

Il gufo e la gattina – II

Igor’ Fëdorovič Stravinskij (1882-1971): The Owl and the Pussycat per voce e pianoforte (1966) su testo di Edward Lear. Adrienne Albert, mezzosoprano; Robert Craft, pianoforte.

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
 In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
 Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
 And sang to a small guitar,
‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
 What a beautiful Pussy you are,
  You are,
  You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!’

Pussy said to the Owl, ‘You elegant fowl!
 How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
 But what shall we do for a ring?’
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
 To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
 With a ring at the end of his nose,
  His nose,
  His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

‘Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
 Your ring?’ Said the Piggy, ‘I will.’
So they took it away, and were married next day
 By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
 Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
 They danced by the light of the moon,
  The moon,
  The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Il gufo e la gattina – I

Mátyás Seiber (1905 - 24 settembre 1960): The Owl and the Pussycat per voce, violino e chitarra (1956) su testo di Edward Lear. Beáta Má­thé, mezzosoprano; Zoltán Bene­dek­fi, violino; Dávid Pavlovits, chitarra.

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
 In a beautiful pea-green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
 Wrapped up in a five-pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
 And sang to a small guitar,
‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
 What a beautiful Pussy you are,
  You are,
  You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!’

Pussy said to the Owl, ‘You elegant fowl!
 How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
 But what shall we do for a ring?’
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
 To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
 With a ring at the end of his nose,
  His nose,
  His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

‘Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
 Your ring?’ Said the Piggy, ‘I will.’
So they took it away, and were married next day
 By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
 Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
 They danced by the light of the moon,
  The moon,
  The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

I drappi ricamati del cielo

Ivor Gurney (28 agosto 1890 - 1937): The Cloths of Heaven, testo di William Butler Yeats. Ian Partridge, tenore; Jennifer Partridge, pianoforte.

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams.
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Tigeroo!

Irving Fine (1914 - 23 agosto 1962): Tigeroo per voce e pianoforte, da Childhood Fables for Grownups su testi di Gertrude Norman (1955). William Parker, baritono; Dalton Baldwin, pianoforte.

There once was a Tiger named Tigeroo,
The hungriest tiger in the zoo:
All day long he liked to eat
Not cake, not cookies, but only meat.

The keeper said, «Now, Tigeroo,
You eat too much, you know you do!
If you eat any more and you get sick,
I’ll call the tiger doctor quick!»

«I’ll eat all I like», said Tigeroo,
«I’m the hungriest tiger in the zoo.
You tell that doctor, I said POOH!
If he comes in my cage, I’ll eat him too!»

Folk songs: 20. Barbara Allen

Anonimo (sec. XVII): Barbara Allen, ballad di origine scozzese. Alfred Deller, controtenore; Desmond Dupré, liuto.

In Scarlet town where I was born
There was a fair maid dwellin’,
Made ev’ry youth cry «Well-a-day.»
Her name was Barbara Allen.

All in the merry month of may,
When green buds they were swellin’,
Young Jemmy Grove on his death-bed lay
For love of Barbara Allen.

So slowly, slowly she came up,
And slowly she came nigh him,
And all she said when there she came:
«Young man, I think you’re dyin’.»

When he was dead, and laid in grave,
Her heart was struck with sorrow.
«Oh mother, mother, make my bed:
For I shall die tomorrow.»

Farewell, she said, ye virgins all,
And shun the fault I fell in:
Henceforth take warning by the fall
Of cruel Barbara Allen.

Folk songs: 19. Yonder comes a courteous knight

 
Thomas Ravenscroft (c1582 - c1633): Yonder comes a courteous knight, partsong a 4 (pubblicato in Deuteromelia, 1609, n. 22). Pro Cantione Antiqua.

Notevoli il testo, che presenta alla fine una «morale» davvero curiosa 🙂 , e l’armonizzazione, severa e moderna allo stesso tempo, nonché l’interpretazione dell’ensemble Pro Cantione Antiqua.

Yonder comes a courteous knight,
Lustely raking over the lay;
He was well ware of a bonny lasse,
As she came wand’ring over the way.
  Then she sang downe a downe, hey downe derry.

Jove you speed, fayre ladye, he said,
Among the leaves that be so greene;
If I were a king, and wore a crowne,
Full soone, fair lady, shouldst thou be a queen.

Also Jove save you, faire lady,
Among the roses that be so red;
If I have not my will of you,
Full soone, faire lady, shall I be dead.

[Then he lookt east, then hee lookt west,
He lookt north, so did he south;
He could not finde a privy place,
For all lay in the divel’s mouth.
]

If you will carry me, gentle sir,
A mayde unto my father’s hall,
Then shall you have your will of me,
Under purple and under paule.

[He set her up upon a steed,
And him selfe upon another,
And all the day he rode her by,
As though they had been sister and brother.
]

When she came to her father’s hall,
It was well walled round about;
She rode in at the wicket-gate,
And shut the foure-ear’d foole without.

You had me, quoth she, abroad in the field,
Among the corne, amidst the hay,
Where you might had your will of mee,
For, in good faith, sir, I never said nay.

[Ye had me also amid the field,
Among the rushes that were so browne,
Where you might had your will of me,
But you had not the face to lay me downe.
]

He pulled out his nut-browne sword,
And wipt the rust off with his sleeve,
And said: Jove’s curse come to his heart,
That any woman would beleeve!

When you have your owne true-love
A mile or twaine out of the towne,
Spare not for her gay clothing,
But lay her body flat on the ground.

Folk songs: 18. She Moved through the Fair

Anonimo: She Moved through the Fair, canzone tradizionale irlandese. Alfred Deller, controtenore; Desmond Dupré, liuto.

My young love said to me: My mother won’t mind,
And my father won’t slight you for your lack of kine.
And she stepped away from me and this she did say:
It will not be long, love, ‘til our wedding day.

She stepped away from me and she moved through the fair,
And fondly I watched her move here and move there,
And then she went homeward with one star awake,
As the swan in the evening moves over the lake.

Last night she came to me, she came softly in.
So softly she came that her feet made no din,
And she laid her hand on me, and this she did say:
It will not be long, love, ‘til our wedding day.

La melodia, diffusa in Irlanda e in Scozia, risale probabilmente al basso Medioevo. Il testo è stato pubblicato per la prima volta nella raccolta Irish Country Songs (1909), curata da Herbert Hughes.

Folk songs: 16. Bushes and Briars

 
Anonimo: Bushes and Briars, canto tradizionale inglese. Alfred Deller, controtenore; Desmond Dupré, liuto.
La «scoperta» di questo brano si deve a Ralph Vaughan Williams, che l’udì cantare da un pastore nell’Essex e ne pubblicò un arrangiamento per coro maschile a 4 voci a cappella nel 1908.

Through bushes and through briars,
I lately took my way;
All for to hear the small birds sing,
And the lambs to skip and play.

I overheard my own true love,
Her voice it was so clear;
Long time I have been waiting
For the coming of my dear.

Sometimes I am uneasy
And troubled in my mind;
Sometimes I think I’ll go to my love
And tell to him my mind.

And if I should go to my love,
My love he will say «Nay»;
If I show to him my boldness,
He’ll ne’er love me again.


 
L’arrangiamento di Vaughan Williams eseguito da The Gentlemen of St. John’s.
 

Folk songs: 14. The Tailor and the Mouse

Anonimo: The Tailor and the Mouse. Alfred Deller, controtenore; Desmond Dupré, liuto.

There was a tailor had a mouse,
  Hi diddle um come feed-al,
They lived together in one house,
  Hi diddle um come feed-al.

Chorus :
  Hi diddle um come tarum tantrum,
  Through the town of Ramsey,
  Hi diddle um come over the lea,
  Hi diddle um come feed-al.

The tailor thought his mouse was ill,
He gave him part of a blue pill.

The tailor thought the mouse would die,
He baked him in an apple pie.

The pie was cut, the mouse ran out,
The tailor followed him all about.

The tailor found his mouse was dead,
So he bought another one in his stead.

Folk songs: 11. The Water is Wide

 
Anonimo: The Water is Wide ovvero Waly, waly, canto di origine scozzese che risale probabilmente all’inizio del XVIII secolo; la versione pubblicata da Cecil Sharp nel volume Folk Songs From Somerset (1906) è quella più frequentemente eseguita. Gli interpreti sono Alfred Deller (controtenore) e Desmond Dupré (liuto).

The water is wide, I cannot get o’er
And neither have I wings to fly,
O give me a boat that will carry two
And both can row, my love and I.

O down in the meadows the other day
A-gathering flow’rs, both fine and gay,
A-gathering flow’rs, both red and blue,
I little thought what love can do.

I lean’d my back up against some oak,
Thinking that he was a trusty tree.
But first he bended and then he broke,
And so did my false love to me.

A ship there is and she sails the sea,
She’s loaded deep as deep can be,
But not so deep as the love I’m in.
I know not if I sink or swim.

O love is handsome and love is fine,
And love’s a jewel while it is new;
But when it is old it groweth cold
And fades away like morning dew.

Folk songs: 10. Down by the Salley Gardens

Herbert Hughes (1882 - 1937): Down by the Salley Gardens, melodia tradizionale irlandese (Maids of Mourne Shore) adattata a un testo di William Butler Yeats (da The Wanderings of Oisin and Other Poems, 1889). Alfred Deller, controtenore; Desmond Dupré, liuto.

Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.

In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.

Folk songs: 6. The Oak and the Ash

 
Anonimo (secolo XVI): The oak and the ash, ovvero The Northern Lasse’s Lamentation. Alfred Deller, controtenore; Desmond Dupré, liuto.

A North Country maid up to London had strayed
Although with her nature it did not agree,
She wept, and she sighed, and she bitterly cried:
I wish once again in the North I could be.
Oh the oak and the ash and the bonnie ivy tree,
They flourish at home in my own country.

While sadly I roam, I regret my dear home
Where lads and young lasses are making the hay,
The merry bells ring and the birds sweetly sing,
And maidens and meadows are pleasant and gay.
Oh the oak and the ash and the bonnie ivy tree,
They flourish at home in my own country.

No doubt, did I please, I could marry with ease,
Where maidens are fair many lovers will come.
But he whom I wed must be North Country bred,
And carry me back to my North Country home.
Oh the oak and the ash and the bonny ivy tree,
They flourish at home in my own country.


Una serie di variazioni sulla melodia di The Oak and the Ash, opera di Giles Farnaby (c1563 - 1640), si trova con il titolo Quodlings Delight nel Fitzwilliam Virginal Book (n. [CXIV]). Qui la composizione di Farnaby è interpretata al clavicembalo da Pieter-Jan Belder:


La medesima melodia ha inoltre dato origine a diverse danze popolari, fra cui una contraddanza pubblicata con il numero 52 nella fortunata raccolta The English Dancing Master (16511) di John Playford: il brano reca il suggestivo titolo di Goddesses, probabilmente ispirato da quello di un masque, The Vision of the Twelve Goddesses, scritto da Samuel Daniel e rappresentato nel 1604. Ecco Goddesses in un arrangiamento di Bernard Thomas interpretato dal bravissimo Nicolas Fendt, che suona chitarra rinascimentale, liuto-chitarra, flauto dolce soprano, contralto, tenore e basso, e percussioni:


Folk songs: 3. Cold and raw

 
Anonimo (sec. XVII): Cold and raw ovvero The Maid who Sold her Barley o anche The Farmer’s Daughter, ballad di probabile origine scozzese. The Baltimore Consort.

Cold and raw the North did blow, bleak in a morning early;
All the trees were hid with snow, cover’d with winter fearly.
As I came riding o’er the slough, I met with a farmer’s daughter,
Rosie cheeks, and bonny brow, geud faith, made my mouth to water.

Down I vail’d my bonnet low, meaning to show my breeding,
She return’d a graceful bow, her visage far exceeding:
I ask’d her where she went so soon, and long’d to begin a parley:
She told me to the next market town, a purpose to sell her barley.

«In this purse, sweet soul!» said I, «twenty pound lies fairly,
Seek no farther one to buy, for I’se take all thy barley:
Twenty more shall purchase delight, thy person I love so dearly,
If thou wilt lig by me all night, and gang home in the morning early.»

«If forty pound would buy the globe, this thing I’s not do, sir;
Or were my friends as poor as Job, I’d never raise’em so, sir:
For shou’d you prove to-night my friend, we’se get a young kid together,
And you’d be gone e’r nine months end, & where shall I find the father?»

«Pray what would my parents say, if I should be so silly,
To give my maidenhead away, and lose my true love, Billy!
Oh this would bring me to disgrace, and therefore I say you nay, sir;
And if that you would me embrace, first marry, & then you may, sir!»

I told her I had wedded been, fourteen years and longer,
Else I’d chuse her for my queen, and tye the knot yet stronger.
She bid me then no farther roame, but manage my wedlock fairly,
And keep my purse for poor spouse at home, for some other should have her barley.

Then as swift as any roe, she rode away and left me;
After her I could not go, of joy she quite bereft me:
Thus I my self did disappoint, for she did leave me fairly,
My words knock’d all things out of joint, I lost both the maid and the barley.

Il testo è compreso nella monumentale silloge Wit and Mirth, or Pills to Purge Melancholy curata da Thomas D’Urfey, la cui 1a edizione risale al 1698; nel corso degli anni è stato associato a musiche diverse: la versione del Baltimore Consort adotta la melodia di Stingo, or The Oyle of Barley, un jig (danza) tratta dalla raccolta The English dancing master (16511, n. 10) di John Playford; stingo e oil of barley sono due modi di dire popolari con i quali all’epoca si indicava una birra forte a gradazione elevata. Ecco Stingo nell’interpretazione dei Musicians of Swanne Alley:

 
La melodia doveva essere assai popolare nel primo Settecento, tant’è vero che Pepusch la utilizzò per rivestire di musica l’aria «If any Wench Venus’s Girdle wear», cantata da Mrs Peachum nella 4a scena del I atto della Beggar’s Opera di John Gay (rappresentata per la 1a volta nel 1728). Qui è eseguita dall’ensemble The Broadside Band diretto da Jeremy Barlow, con Patrizia Kwella voce solista:

If any Wench Venus’s Girdle wear,
 Though she be never so ugly;
Lilies and Roses will quickly appear,
 And her Face look wond’rous smugly.

Beneath the left Ear so fit but a Cord,
 (A Rope so charming a Zone is!)
The Youth in his Cart hath the Air of a Lord,
 And we cry, There dies an Adonis!

All’aria di Mrs Peachum la Broadside Band fa seguire [a 1:17] una breve serie di variazioni per violino e basso continuo sulla medesima melodia, pubblicate con il titolo Up in the Morning Early dal compositore e violinista scozzese William McGibbon (1690 - 1756).

Playford 1651

Folk songs: 2. The three ravens

Thomas Ravenscroft (c1582 - c1635): The three ravens. Versione per 1 voce e liuto: Alfred Deller e Desmond Dupré; versione per 4 voci e viol consort: Theatre of Voices diretto da Paul Hillier (voce solista Else Torp) e Fretwork.
Nell’interpretazione di Deller, le strofe sono accorpate a due a due.

There were three ravens sat on a tree,
  down a down, hay down, hay down,
There were three ravens sat on a tree,
  with a down,
There were three ravens sat on a tree,
They were as black as black could be,
  with a down, derry, derry, derry, down, down.

And one of them said to his mate:
Where shall we our breakfast take?

Down, [down] in yonder green field,
There lies a knight slain with his shield.

His hounds they lie down at his feet,
So well they their master keep.

His hawks they fly so eagerly,
There’s no fowl dare him come nie.

Down there comes a fallow doe,
As great with young as she might go.

She lift up his bloody head,
And kissed his wounds that were so red.

She got him up upon her back,
And carried him to earthen lake.

She buried him before the prime.
She was dead herself ere even-song time.

God send every gentleman
Such hawks, such hounds, and such a leman.

Non si hanno molte notizie su Ravenscroft, che però fu molto ammirato e stimato dai musicisti suoi contemporanei. Più che per le sue composizioni originali, è noto per un cospicuo numero di raffinati arrangiamenti di melodie tradizionali — qual è appunto The three ravens — che Ravenscroft pubblicò in tre diverse raccolte: Pammelia (1609), Deuteromelia: or The Second part of Musicks melodie (1609) e Melismata (1611).
Il nome di Ravenscroft comparirà spesso in questo blog 😉

Edward Frederick Brewtnall (1846-1902): The Three Ravens, acquerello su carta, c1883

Folk songs: 1. Greensleeves

Anonimo (sec. XVI) Greensleeves, ballad (versione per voce e liuto); gli interpreti sono Donna Stewart e Ron Andrico, ossia il duo Mignarda, che ritroveremo più volte in un prossimo futuro. Buone emozioni a tutti 🙂

Alas, my love, you do me wrong
To cast me off discourteously,
And I have loved you so long,
Delighting in your company.

  Greensleeves was all my joy,
  Greensleeves was my delight,
  Greensleeves was my heart of gold,
  And who but my lady Greensleeves.

I have been ready at your hand,
To grant whatever you would crave;
I have both waged life and land,
Your love and good-will for to have.

I bought thee petticoats of the best,
The cloth so fine as fine might be:
I gave thee jewels for thy chest;
And all this cost I spent on thee.

Thy crimson stockings all of silk,
With gold all wrought above the knee,
Thy pumps as white as was the milk,
And yet thou wouldst not love me.

Well! I will pray to God on high,
That thou my constancy mayst see,
And that, yet once before I die,
Thou wilt vouchsafe to love me!

I shall but love thee better after death

Maude Valérie White (23 giugno 1855 - 1937): How Do I Love Thee?, song per voce e pianoforte su testo di Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Sonnet 43) ampiamente rimaneggiato dalla compositrice. Ximena Bernal, mezzosoprano; Felipe Calle, pianoforte.

Testo del song:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach,
(I love thee purely)
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need,
(I love thee with the breath) of all my life!
and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Testo originale di Elizabeth Barrett Browning:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.