Saturday, 4 May 2013

Pietro Bembo - (Italian / Portuguese / English) & The Late Renaissance


Alma cortese che dal Mondo errante 
 Partendo nella tua più verde etade, 
 Hai me lasciato eternamente in doglia, 
 Dalle sempre beate alme contrade, 
 Ov'or dimori cara a quell'Amante, 
 Che più temer non puol, che ti si toglia; 
 Risguarda in terra, e mira, u'la tua spoglia 
 Chiude un bel sasso; e me, che 'l marmo asciutto 
 Vedrai bagnar, te richiamando, ascolta. 
 Però che chiusa, e tolta 
 L'alta pura dolcezza, e rotto in tutto 
 Fù 'l più fido sostegno al viver mio, 
 frate, quel dì, che te n'andasti a volo. 
 Da indi in quà né lieto, né securo 
 Non ebbi un giorno mai, né d'aver curo; 
 Anzi mi pento esser rimasto solo, 
 Che son venuto, senza di te, in obblio 
 Di me medesmo, e per te solo er'io 
 Caro a me stesso. Or teco ogni mi gioia 

 È spenta, e non so già, perch'io non muoia. 

  Alma cortês que do Mundo errante 
   Partindo na tua mais verde idade, 
  Me deixaste eternamente em dores, 
  Das sempre beatas almas jogadas, 
  Ond'ora permaneces cara àquel'Amante, 
  Que mais temer não pode, que te se tolha; 
  Protege em terra, e olha, onde os teus despojos 
  Encerra uma bela pedra; e eu, que o mármore enxuto 
  Verás banhar, chamando-te, escuta. 
  Mas já que fechada, e retirada foi 
  A alta pura beleza, e destroçado 
  Foi o mais fiel apoio ao viver meu, 
  irmão, aquele dia, que partiste em voo, 
  Desde então nem feliz, nem seguro 
  Tive um dia mais, nem de ter curo; 
  Antes me arrependo de ter ficado só, 
  Que cheguei, sem ti, ao olvido 
  De mim mesmo, e para ti só era eu 
  Caro a mim mesmo. Ora contigo cada minha alegria 
  Feneceu, e não sei já, porque não morra. 

Masterfully put into Portuguese above by - Ricardo Castelo Branco (FB link) .
   I shall now leave an English rendition below for my English readers

Gentle soul departed at thy most tender age 
From this wavering world,
Leaving me in pain for eternity, 
To the realm of those blessèd, 
Whence my dear à quell'Amante (to that - Love) thou now resideth,
No fear, no hindrance to thee;
  On Earth defend and watch where layest thy remains
Closed by a grand stone;
 and I, whom thou shalt see bathing the dry marble,
 shall be calling thee, listen.
   Yet therefrom shut off am I, pure and lofty beauty taken,
  and shattered has been my life's most faithful support,
 brother, on that day whence thou tookest flight.
 For me, thenceforth not a day of bliss nor refuge
More, nor cure as they cometh;
Indeed I am sorry to have been left alone,
 I am arrivèd, without thee, unto mine own oblivion
 - for thee alone did I myself hold dear.
 Now all joy beside thee hath faded,
 And I have yet to know
Why I do not die.

translated by:
Maria MFA Costa


Michelangelo's fallen angel - Link to the original image

Years ago, upon reading up on a subject (Camerata Fiorentina) and an era (The Renaissance - especially the latter "mannerist" part of it) that interests me greatly, I came across a man whom among others had tremendous influence upon not only his own language (as is known) but the history and development of a major change in the arts - Visual & musical - for instance.  (important changes)

An author whom has always intrigued me, it has been decades since I took a proper glance at his work and am now reminded of how it moved me back in the first years of the 90s, causing me passion to study history in a different mode than before, and that particular period in western history seemed to be as good a point as any to start.
I am no specialist in History of any kind or era and as many am touched by poetry.
Understanding where we come from (in a broader sense) helps understand who we are, or rather how we "got here", for the arts and their trends are (in my opinion) a mirror of our "collective soul".

Pietro Bembo through his intense study of how the sound, rhythm and variety of the sonorous quality of words in poetry "affects" people had such an incredible impact upon not only literature but the music of his time (Willaert & successors Cipriano di Rore, A. Gabrieli and others - composers of the "Franco Flemish style") and the expressive/representative quality it could have; culminating in the work, or rather, the oeuvre of the most  intriguing quality (in my opinion) by the likes of Nicola Vincentino among others,
{ a man who had had heated debates, famous at the time, regarding the older style versus the newer style of composing (his being the latter), apparently losing against a witty though more conservative Vicente Lusitano } - that his work seemed to be of paramount importance.
The Madrigal was at the time the means par excellence and the "playground" for the birth of what would become a new style in music and the onset of the  Baroque.
Thinking of how the newer age - The Baroque - began with the birth of Opera, even though perhaps less bold in terms of composition than that which could be seen in the Madrigal, an art form mixing theatre & music to interpret and enhance the drama that was shown to audiences that were on the verge of having the first known Theatres (of the modern world) built (Teatro all'antica, Teatro Olimpico and the Teatro Farnese - all in the north of Italy)
► and thus not needing to go to courts to see performances; all this along with the impact of such change upon instrument construction in order to enhance the projection of sound (violins et cetera) seems amazing to me.
- an incredible age in human history, full of agonizing and terrible battles (the horrid side of history) along with amazing scientific/artistic discovery.

I now leave you with some more artwork and music of both stages within that era

Duarte Lobo
.Francesco Patavino

Claudio Monteverdi

Nicola Vicentino

The madrigal may have been the above mentioned "playground" for trail and experimentation leading to much change in Music nevertheless, as I say above, the birth of Opera is not only significant in itself but I keep recalling Orfeo's farwell as he bids adieu to the world in Monteverdi's L'Orfeu (the world's first known written opera, not having reached us Peri's "Dafne" written in Florence two years before).
* I'll leave you also with an exerpt (just under 3 minutes) of a fine performance where one can hear the attempt to express, to "affect", to "paint" the emotive quality and significance of words musically.
- I keep recalling his «Addio terra, addio cielo, e sole, addio» and how the composer moves melodically to depict the words
(translated ► Farewell earth, farewell sky, and sun, farewell)


- also, pictorially to my mind's eye I recall changes from the "symmetry" to the "uneven", among other things in art after certain historic events (wars in the city states of Italy - "Renaissance wars") as can be seen below as one views how artists changed whilst depicting similar subject matter.

Leonardo DaVinci's Last Supper (1495-98)

 Jacopo Tintoretto's Last Supper (1592-94)

Sandro Botticelli's Madonna w/two angels (late XVth century)

Madonna dal collo lungo - Parmigianino (1535-40)


I wish all a happy weekend. 

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