Händel – Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day

Händel – Ode for St. Cecilia’s Day

Santa Cecilia sin dal Medioevo ha legato il suo nome alla musica ed è stata celebrata da molti compositori; Händel ha composto un’ode meravigliosa eseguita per la prima volta a Londra nel 1739 il 22 novembre, giorno dedicato alla Santa.
Sul testo di John Dryden, G. F. Händel rende onore alla Santa e alla Musica con magnificenza, alternando sapientemente melodie dolci e delicate a brani ricchi di energia e vigore. La contrapposizione, comunque sempre elegante di arie e melodie ora delicate ora energiche, crea un gioco estremamente valido che rapisce all’ascolto; i brani corali sono luminosi e di gran respiro e in essi, come sempre, traspare il genio del grande maestro di Halle.

Felicity Lott, soprano
Anthony Rolfe-Johnson, tenore
The English Concert and Choir, Trevor Pinnock

(on authentic instruments)

TENOR: From Harmony (Recit)
From harmony, from heavenly harmony
This universal frame began.
When nature, underneath a heap
Of jarring atoms lay,
And could not heave her head.
The tuneful Voice, was heard from high,
Arise! Arise!
Arise ye more than dead!
Then cold, and hot, and moist, and dry,
In order to their stations leap!
And music’s power obey!
And music’s power obey!CHORUS: From Harmony (Chorus)
From harmony, from heavenly harmony,
This universal frame began.
Through all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in man.

SOPRANO: What Passion Cannot Music Raise and Quell
What passion cannot music raise, and quell?
When Jubal struck the chorded shell,
His listening brethren stood ‘round.
And wondering on their faces fell,
To worship that celestial sound!
Less than a god they thought there could not dwell
Within the hollow of that shell
That spoke so sweetly and so well.
What passion cannot Music raise and quell?

TENOR: The Trumpet’s Loud Clangour
The trumpet’s loud clangour excites us to arms,
With shrill notes of anger and mortal alarms,
The double-double-double beat,
Of the thund’ring drum,
Cries hark! Hark! Cries hark the foes come!
Charge! Charge! Charge! Charge!
‘Tis too late, ‘tis too late to retreat!
Charge ‘tis too late, too late to retreat!

SOPRANO: The Soft Complaining Flute
The soft complaining flute
In dying notes discovers
The woes of hopeless lovers,
Whose dirge is whispered by the warbling lute.

TENOR: Sharp Violins Proclaim
Sharp violins proclaim,
Their jealous pangs,
And desperation!
Fury, frantic indignation!
Depth of pains, and height of passion,
For the fair disdainful dame!

SOPRANO: But oh! What art can teach
But oh! what art can teach,
What human voice can reach
The sacred organ’s praise?
Notes inspiring holy love,
Notes that wing their heavenly ways
To mend the choirs above.

SOPRANO: Orpheus could lead the savage race
Orpheus could lead the savage race,
And trees uprooted left their place
Sequacious of the lyre:
But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher:
When to her Organ vocal breath was given
An Angel heard, and straight appeared –
Mistaking Earth for Heaven.

SOPRANO: As from the power of sacred lays
As from the power of sacred lays
The spheres began to move,
And sung the great Creator’s praise
To all the blest above;
So when the last and dreadful hour
This crumbling pageant shall devour,
The trumpet shall be heard on high,

CHORUS: The dead shall live, the living die
The dead shall live, the living die,
And music shall untune the sky

 

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