Saturday, 17 May 2014


“Nobody deserves your tears, but whoever deserves them will not make you cry. “ - GabrielGarcia Marquez

For Music Saturday, a very famous madrigal by Claudio Monteverdi: “Lamento della Ninfa” is the 18th piece from Monteverdi’s eighth book of madrigals (“Madrigali Guerrieri ed Amorosi, 1638). The three male voices narrate the story and offer empathy to the nymph while she is lamenting over her abandonment by her inconstant lover. This movement of the madrigal is a beautiful example for Phrygian progression with the ostinato of its bass line in four descending notes all the way through. The inner turmoil and sorrow of the nymph is mirrored in the music by the melodic and harmonic dissonances.

In this recording: Emma Kirkby, soprano; Paul Agnew, tenor; Andrew King, tenor; Alan Ewing, bass, with the The Consort of Musicke, and Anthony Rooley.

Lament of the Nymph
(Text by Ottavio Rinuccini)

Phoebus had not yet

brought daylight to the world
when a damsel
came out of her dwelling.

Her suffering was plain

on her face,
and frequently she let
great sighs loose from her heart.

Thus trampling the flowers,

she wandered here and there,
and her lost love
she thus wept:

“Love”, she said, stopping

to look at the heavens,
“where, where is the faith
that the traitor swore to me?

Let my love return as he was,

or else kill me, so that I may no longer torment myself.”
Poor wretch, alas, no longer
can she suffer such scorn.

“I don’t want him to sigh

except away from me,
I no longer want him
to confide his sufferings in me.

Because I suffer for him,

he is proud;
will he beseech me
if I flee from him?

She may have a more serene

brow than mine,
but even Love’s breast
does not harbour such beautiful constancy.

Never will he have such sweet kisses

from that mouth,
nor softer - be still,
be still, that he knows all too well.

Thus among scornful weeping

she scattered her laments to the sky;
thus in lovers’ hearts
Love mixes flame and ice.

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