Io mi vivea del mio languir contento

Composer: Giaches de Wert (b. 1535 - d. 1596)
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Composer: Giaches de Wert (b. 1535 - d. 1596)

Performance date: 02/07/2019

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1596

Duration: 00:05:58

Recording Engineer: Gar Duffy, RTÉ

Instrumentation Category:Vocal Ensemble

Instrumentation Other: m, s, t, b

Artists: Fieri Consort (Hannah Ely, Lucy Cox [sopranos], Nancy Cole, Helen Charleston [mezzo-sopranos], Tom Kelly, Josh Cooter [tenors], Ben Mckee, Ben Rowarth [bass]) - [vocal ensemble]

From the mid-sixteenth century to the early-seventeenth century, the
Dukes of Mantua were served by a succession of fine court composers, the
most distinguished of whom were Giaches de Wert and Claudio Monteverdi.
Wert’s Seventh Book of madrigals is one of his most important
publications, which he presented on the occasion of the marriage of
Vincenzo Gonzaga (heir to the Duke of Mantua) and Margherita Farnese in
1581. This unified two powerful houses and was celebrated by splendid
entertainment and music. Io mi vivea del mio languir contento is a
setting of a sonnet by Luigi Tansillo. It is full of melancholy tears
as the lover is caught between grief for his lost love and bitter-sweet
relief at the memory of her. Ironically the wedding ended in divorce two
years later.
Io mi vivea del mio
languir content

Io mi vivea del
mio languir contento;

I lived contented with my pining heart;

E, se doglia
portava al mondo sola;

And if some worldly care intruded, then

Un riso, un
cenno, un guardo, una parola

A smile, a nod, a glance, a word sufficed

D’eterno oblio
copriva ogni tormento.

To cancel every grief for evermore.

Or, che non
veggo, senza voi, nè sento

Now that you are gone and I can find

Cosa, ch’appaghi
il cor, che mi consola?

Nothing to warm my heart, who will console me?

S’altro terren
l’aura vital m’invola

Robbed by distance of the breath of life,

Onde avranno i
miei spirti il nudrimento?

Whence must my spirit draw its sustenance?



Riman solo il
pensier, ch’in parte rende

Memory alone remains,

Cio ch’altri
toglie, ahi lasso; e quest’ancora

Some of what, alas! Was lost. And this

Assai mi giova,
ma via più m’offende,

Brings some relief, but then grieves even more,

Perché, quanto
maggior pinge talora

Because the clearer that it paints the picture

Il ben ch’empia
Fortuna mi contende,

Of the treasure evil fortune stole from me,

Tanto più cresce
il duol, che l’alma accora.

The greater is the pain that wracks my soul.