Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Feeling Baroque...

I resisted music from the Baroque period for the longest time mostly because;
1. I wasn't familiar with it since none of the instruments I play existed back then
2. I had pretty boring experience with Baroque operas before... Pretty arias one after another to the point where, by the end of the hour I couldn't tell one song from another... They all sounded the same!

But then... they weren't performed by singers like Vesselina Kasarova or Vivica Genaux or Juliette Galstian or Dorothea R
öschmann back then. Now that I've heard these gals rock up the old tunes, my built-in stereo is playing arias from that period almost as often as it does the bel canto stuff now.

“Ombra fedele anch'io... As a faithful shadow I’ll be,
sul margine di lette.... and even to the bank of the Lethe
seguir vo' l'idol mio che tanto addoro... I’ll follow you, my adored idol.

Che bella pace e questa che a consolar.. What serene peace consoles me
se resta il mio martoro.... and eases my torment.”
From the 1730 opera Idaspe by Riccardo Broschi, this aria of Dario is written for the composer's famous soprano castrato brother, Carlo Broschi, also known as Farinelli.
It is a simple song of longing (the Lethe is a mythical river of forgetfulness in Hades. Supposedly those who wade/drink in it would experience permanent and complete amnesia) that follows the classic Baroque A-B-A' da capo form (you hear theme A, then theme B, then a return to theme A with increasingly complex ornamentation)...

Not all that emotionally explorative, I think (at least nothing in the caliber of what Handel would have done musically), but still very catchy and beautiful, isn't it? I'm willing to bet that you can take the A section and turn it into a big pop music hit today (providing a good English adaptation of the lyrics).

Really, people who think that classical music is for the dull and the aged really don't know what the heck they're missing. I wonder how many recognize the good use of classical music they hear everyday without noticing. Just in the past week I've heard Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries (in the ads), Mendelssohn-Bartholdy's 4th Symphony 'Italian' (tv ads for the series Harper's Island), and the famous flower duet from Delibes' Lakmé (through out ABC's Nightline show about the Vineyard housing/golf course development in Las Vegas, NV) while watching my television at night. Keep an ear out for classical music when you watch the tv or are at the cinema. You might be surprised where the thing would pop up at you!


Teresa said...

thank you for the translation of the lyrics, and your information about the aria

Unknown said...

wonderful , many thanks for posting your explanation of this piece of musique, I'm currently obsessed with listening to it. Merci beaucoup!