Elizabeth Weinfield, viols/direction Jude Ziliak, violin Toma Iliev, violin Amy Domingues, viols James Kennerley, harpsichord With Nola Richardson, soprano
This performance is presented in conjunction with the Detroit Institute of Arts exhibition By Her Hand: Artemisia Gentileschi and Women Artists in Italy, 1500–1800, and was made possible through a generous grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
✨ Program ✨
Se scior si ved'il laccio | Maddalena Casulana (1544–1590) Lasciatemi qui solo | Francesca Caccini (1587–1640) Quando spiega l’insegn’al sommo padre | Paola Massarenghi (b. 1565; fl. 1585) Due luci ridenti | Settimia Caccini (1591–1638) Galliarda prima, from Il terzo libro | Carlo Farina (c. 1600–1639) L’eraclito Amoroso | Barbara Strozzi (1619–1677)
Program Note From a beloved lament to a world premiere, our program presents some of the many facets of the musical lives of women in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Italy. We begin with Maddalena Casulana, who was born in 1544 likely in Casula, near Sienna, the first woman to have her music printed during her lifetime. Her pastoral madrigal Se scior si ved'il laccio circulated widely due to its polish and literary appeal: though small in scale, it is rich with chordal texture and syncopation. Francesca Caccini came of age at the turn of the seventeenth century in a musical family in Florence. Daughter of Giulio Caccini, one of the progenitors of monody and early opera, she was an acclaimed singer and teacher as well as composer. The earliest woman to have composed an opera, she gained international acclaim as a singer performing in the festivities for the marriage of Henri IV to Marie de’ Medici, ultimately becoming the highest paid musician on the Medici payroll. Caccini likely crossed paths with Artemisia Gentileschi in Florence, and through her work Lasciatemi qui solo we see the Florentine craze for the musical lament, a genre that sounds some of the same voices of the “fallen women” also depicted in many of the works in By Her Hand.
In the center of our program is the one extant work by Paola Massarenghi, the madrigal Quando spiega l’insegn’al sommo padre, which until now has not been recorded. Massarenghi wrote the work at the age of twenty, then disappears from the historical record. It was included as the penultimate piece in F. Arcangelo Gherardini’s Primo libro dei madrigali à cinque voci, published in 1585, which enabled its circulation. We do not know where Massarenghi lived, but the dedication in Gherardini’s volume is inscribed with Ferrara, a city with a strong tradition of music making by women, including the d’Este court’s concerto delle dame and at the convent of S. Vito. Settimia Caccini, Francesca Caccini’s younger sister, follows on our program, with Due luci ridenti, a strophic aria, one of the most popular genres of the first third of the seventeenth century. A relatively lightly ornamented piece, it has its roots in the older strophic song rather than the more popular solo madrigal.
Our program concludes with a sprightly instrumental galliard by Carlo Farina and the monumental L’eraclito Amoroso of Barbara Strozzi. Written in Dresden in the late 1620s, Farina’s Galliarda prima was produced for a court with a large instrument collection and one of Europe’s earliest proto-museums. The dance’s virtuosic appeal ushers in a new fascination with musical works as objects to behold, one of the philosophic underpinnings of rococo and classical music in centuries to come. Strozzi’s L’eraclito Amoroso (1651) may be one such canonic “work.” Alternating between sections of recitative (speech-like singing) and arioso (melodic singing), the piece unfurls over a four-note descending motif in the form of a passacaglia with a text staking a claim for a woman’s point of view. “I singulti mi sanano, / I sospir mi consolano,” the singer cries — most likely originally Strozzi, herself — “My sobs heal me, / And my sighs console me.”
—Elizabeth Weinfield New York, NY March 2022
TEXTS and TRANSLATIONS
Madalena Casulana Se scior si ved'il laccio Text: possibly Jacopo Sannazaro (1453–1530), a 16th-century Petrarchist
Se sciôr ved'il laccio a cui dianz’io Vedend'il vag’aspetto Si forte mi legai, s'altro desio O s’altro fuoco più mi scald'il petto, Te ne ringrazi'amore Se donn’ha mai pietà del mio dolore. If someone sees that I am free of the snare that tied me up so strongly when I gazed upon that graceful form before, then, even though another desire or another fire may burn my breast more, I thank you, Love, provided that lady ever takes pity on my sorrow. (Translation: Ellen D. Lerner)
Francesca Caccini Lasciatemi qui solo
Lasciatemi qui solo Torante augelli al nido Mentre l’anim’e ‘l duolo Spiro su questo lido Altri meco non voglio Ch’un freddo scoglio E ‘l moi fatal martire Lasciatemi moirire
Leave me here alone, Return, birds, to your nests, While my soul, and my pain I give up on these shores. I want no one else with me Other than a cold rock, And my fated death. Leave me to die
Dolcissime sirene Che’n si pietoso canto Raddolcite mie pene Fate soave il pianto Movet’ il nuoto altronde Togliete all’onde I crudi sdegni, e l’ire Lasciatemi morire
Sweetest sirens Who with such merciful song Sweeten my sufferings and Soften my weeping Go elsewhere to swim Dampen the waves’ Cruel scorn, and their ire Leave me to die.
Placidissimi venti Torante al vostro speco Sol miei duri lamenti Chieggo che restin meco Vostri sospir non chiamo Solingo bramo I miei dolor finire Lasciatemi morire
Calmest winds Return to your cave I ask that only my harsh laments Remain with me I do not call upon your sighs Alone I wish To end my sufferings Leave me alone to die.
Fekicissimi amanti Torante al bel diletto Fere eccels’o notanti Fuggite il mesto aspetto Sol dolcezza di morte Apra le porte All’ ultimo Languire Lasciatemi morire
Happiest lovers Return to your beautiful pleasures Wild beasts, whether birds or fish Flee from this sad countenance Only the sweetness of death Should open its doors To this final languishing Leave me to die.
Avarissimi lumi Che su ‘l morir versate Amarissimi fiumi Tard’e vostra pietate Gia mi sento mancare O luci avar’e Tarde al mio conforto Gia sono esangu’e smorto
Most avaricious eyes That on point of death spill The bitterest rivers Your pity comes too late Already I feel myself fail Oh eyes, stinging And slow to comfort me I am already bloodless and lifeless.
Paola Massarenghi Quando spiega l’insegn’al sommo padre Text: Anonymous
Quando spiega l'insegn'al sommo padre e arma le sue squadre per guardia della sue gente diletta O per far contr'a rei giusta vendetta Tu come saggia duce il campo guidi e il nemic'alla battaglia sfidi. When one unfurls the insignia of the highest father And arms their squadrons to protect their chosen people In order to make rightful revenge against kings You like a wise guide lead the field And challenge the enemy to battle. (Translation: Thomasin LaMay) ✨
Settimia Caccini Due luci ridenti Text: Anonymous
Due luci ridenti con guardo sereno di dolci tormenti m'ingombrano il seno. Ma lampi d'Amore rapiscono il core con furto gentile la libertà. Pur lieto vivrà quest'alma cantando, s'adora penando celeste beltà.
Due labbra di Rose con dolci rossori le paci amorose promettono ai cori. Ma in quel bel sereno s'annida il veleno che uccide dell'alme la libertà. Pur lieto vivrà ...
Due braccia soavi, mie dolci catene, far posson men gravi l'acerbe mie pene. Da quest'io desio sia servo il cor mio, si perda, si perda la libertà. Pur lieto vivrà...
Due risi, due sguardi, due care parole, sian fiamme, sian dardi, morir non mi duole. Morrommi beato, morrò fortunato e perderò lieto la libertà. Pur lieto vivrà...
Two laughing lights, with a serene glance, fill my breast with sweet torments. But flashes of love steal, with gentle theft, liberty from my heart. Yet will this soul live happily, singing, if, suffering, it adores celestial beauty.
Two lips of roses, with sweet blushing, promise amorous peace to hearts. But in that lovely serenity is nested a poison which kills the liberty of the soul. Yet will this soul live happily....
Two gentle arms, my sweet chains, can make less terrible these bitter pains of mine. From this, I wish for my heart to be your servant, and may it lose, may it lose its liberty. Yet will this soul live happily ...
Two laughs, two glances, two sweet words: may they be flames, may they be arrows, dying does not pain me. I shall die blessed, I shall die fortunate, and I shall happily lose my liberty. Yet will this soul live happily...
(Translation: Candace Smith)
✨ Barbara Strozzi L’eraclito Amoroso Text: Anonymous
Udite amanti la cagione, oh Dio! Ch'a lagrimar mi porta: Nell'adorato e bello idolo mio, Che si fido credei, la fede morta.
Listen, you lovers, to the reason - oh God! For my weeping: In my adored and beautiful idol, Who I believed to be faithful, faith is dead.
Vaghezza ho sol di piangere, Mi pasco sol di lagrime, Il duolo mia delizia E son miei gioie i gemiti.
I find charm only in weeping, I nourish myself by my tears, Grief is my delight And my moans are my joy.
Ogni martire aggradami, Ogni dolor dilettami, I singulti mi sanano, I sospir mi consolano.
Every anguish pleases me, Every sadness is my delight, My sobs heal me, And my sighs console me.
Ma se la fede negami Quell' incostante e perfido, Almen fede serbatemi Sino alla morte, O lagrime!
But if he denies faith, He who is fickle and treacherous, At least faithfully serve me Until death, oh my sorrow!
Ogni tristezza assalgami, Ogni cordoglio eternisi, Tanto ogni male affligami Che m'uccida e sotterrimi.
Every tear soothes me, All my mourning lasts forever, So much does each ill afflict me That it kills and buries me.