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O Fortuna volubil e leggiera

Luca Marenzio (b. 1553 - d. 1599)

Composer
Luca Marenzio (b. 1553 - d. 1599)
Composition Year
1553 - 1599
Work Movements
O Fortuna volubil e leggiera
Artists
Fieri Consort (Hannah Ely, Lucy Cox [sopranos], Nancy Cole, Helen Charleston [mezzo-sopranos], Tom Kelly, Josh Cooter [tenors], Ben Mckee, Ben Rowarth [bass]) [vocal ensemble]

Programme Note Writer:
© Hannah Ely

Luca Marenzio sets Se quel dolor, a chapter by the Petrarchan poet Luigi Tansillo as a cycle of ten madrigals in his sixth book of madrigals for six voices (1595). Dedicated to Margherita, the Duchess of Ferrara, the mood of this collection is dark and sombre, far removed from the light, sweet-flowing style of his earliest works. Marenzio was by now approaching the end of his life, suffering from ill-health and melancholic moods. This may explain why he chose to include such a serious text which explores and prepares for death. He may also have been thinking of Margherita’s husband, the Duke of Ferrara, who had himself reached old age. Marenzio demonstrates all the techniques and expressive devices that he had mastered throughout his career: flexible tempi, expressive chromaticism, harmonic dissonance and tonal complexity and all contribute to the tone of resignation in Tansillo’s melancholic text.

O Fortuna volubile, e leggera!

O Fortune, fickle and inconstant,

Appena vidi il Sol, che ne fui privo;

No sooner did I see the Sun, than I was bereft of it,

Al comminciar del dì, giunse la sera.

No sooner did the day break, than it was evening!

 

 

Lunge da voi, se da voi lunge io vivo,

Far from you, should far from you I live,

Le lagrime, il pensiero, e la speranza

Tears, cares, and hopes will be

Saranno il cibo mio, d’ogn’altro schivo.

My only sustenance, all else will I loathe.

 

 

E sì dal lungo pianto, ora m’avanza,

And as from long lamenting my hour approaches

Il sonno in braccio per pietà mi prenda,

May merciful sleep embrace me,

La bella, cara angelica sembianza.

Beautiful, dear, angelic vision.

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O Fortuna volubil e leggiera

Composer: Luca Marenzio (b. 1553 - d. 1599)
Performance date: Tuesday 2nd July 2019
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Luca Marenzio (b. 1553 - d. 1599)
Work Title O Fortuna volubil e leggiera
Composition Year 1553 - 1599
Work Movements O Fortuna volubil e leggiera
Artist(s) Fieri Consort (Hannah Ely, Lucy Cox [sopranos], Nancy Cole, Helen Charleston [mezzo-sopranos], Tom Kelly, Josh Cooter [tenors], Ben Mckee, Ben Rowarth [bass]) [vocal ensemble]
Performance Date Tuesday 2nd July 2019
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Coffee Concert
Duration 00:03:13
Recording Engineer Gar Duffy, RTÉ
Instrumentation Category Vocal Ensemble
Instrumentation s, m, t, b
Programme Note Writer © Hannah Ely
Luca Marenzio sets Se quel dolor, a chapter by the Petrarchan poet Luigi Tansillo as a cycle of ten madrigals in his sixth book of madrigals for six voices (1595). Dedicated to Margherita, the Duchess of Ferrara, the mood of this collection is dark and sombre, far removed from the light, sweet-flowing style of his earliest works. Marenzio was by now approaching the end of his life, suffering from ill-health and melancholic moods. This may explain why he chose to include such a serious text which explores and prepares for death. He may also have been thinking of Margherita’s husband, the Duke of Ferrara, who had himself reached old age. Marenzio demonstrates all the techniques and expressive devices that he had mastered throughout his career: flexible tempi, expressive chromaticism, harmonic dissonance and tonal complexity and all contribute to the tone of resignation in Tansillo’s melancholic text.

O Fortuna volubile, e leggera!

O Fortune, fickle and inconstant,

Appena vidi il Sol, che ne fui privo;

No sooner did I see the Sun, than I was bereft of it,

Al comminciar del dì, giunse la sera.

No sooner did the day break, than it was evening!

 

 

Lunge da voi, se da voi lunge io vivo,

Far from you, should far from you I live,

Le lagrime, il pensiero, e la speranza

Tears, cares, and hopes will be

Saranno il cibo mio, d’ogn’altro schivo.

My only sustenance, all else will I loathe.

 

 

E sì dal lungo pianto, ora m’avanza,

And as from long lamenting my hour approaches

Il sonno in braccio per pietà mi prenda,

May merciful sleep embrace me,

La bella, cara angelica sembianza.

Beautiful, dear, angelic vision.