O Fortuna volubil e leggiera

Composer: Luca Marenzio (b. 1553 - d. 1599)
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Composer: Luca Marenzio (b. 1553 - d. 1599)

Performance date: 02/07/2019

Venue: St. Brendan’s Church

Composition Year: 1553 - 1599

Duration: 00:03:13

Recording Engineer: Gar Duffy, RTÉ

Instrumentation Category:Vocal Ensemble

Instrumentation Other: s, m, 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]

Luca Marenzio sets Se quel dolor, a chapter by the Petrarchan
poet Luigi Tansillo as a cycle of ten madrigals in his sixth book of
madrigals for six voices (1595). Dedicated to Margherita, the Duchess of
Ferrara, the mood of this collection is dark and sombre, far removed
from the light, sweet-flowing style of his earliest works. Marenzio was
by now approaching the end of his life, suffering from ill-health and
melancholic moods. This may explain why he chose to include such a
serious text which explores and prepares for death. He may also have
been thinking of Margherita’s husband, the Duke of Ferrara, who had
himself reached old age. Marenzio demonstrates all the techniques and
expressive devices that he had mastered throughout his career: flexible
tempi, expressive chromaticism, harmonic dissonance and tonal complexity
and all contribute to the tone of resignation in Tansillo’s melancholic

O Fortuna
volubile, e leggera!

O Fortune, fickle and

Appena vidi il
Sol, che ne fui privo;

No sooner did I see the Sun, than I was bereft of

Al comminciar del
dì, giunse la sera.

No sooner did the day break, than it was evening!



Lunge da voi, se
da voi lunge io vivo,

Far from you, should far from you I live,

Le lagrime, il
pensiero, e la speranza

Tears, cares, and hopes will be

Saranno il cibo
mio, d’ogn’altro schivo.

My only sustenance, all else will I loathe.



E sì dal lungo
pianto, ora m’avanza,

And as from long lamenting my hour approaches

Il sonno in
braccio per pietà mi prenda,

May merciful sleep embrace me,

La bella, cara
angelica sembianza.

Beautiful, dear, angelic