Già nimfa hor voce (Alessandro Striggio)

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  • (Posted 2021-06-13)  CPDL #64759:         
Editor: Gerhard Weydt (submitted 2021-06-13).   Score information: A4, 10 pages, 236 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Transposed down a minor third because of the chiavette used.

General Information

Title: Già nimfa hor voce
Composer: Alessandro Striggio
Lyricist: Giovanni Battista Amalteo
Number of voices: 8vv   Voicing: SATB.SATB
Genre: SecularMadrigal

Language: Italian
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1588 in Gemma musicalis Liber primus, no. 8
  2nd published: 1596 in Madrigali a otto voci (Pierre Phalèse), no. 15
Description: As the theme of the sonnet is "Echo", Striggio chose to set it with a primary and an echo choir. For a totally different approach see Già Ninfa hor voce (Iacopo Corfini).

External websites:

Original text and translations

The nymph Echo used to entertain Hera with long chats, in order to provide Hera's husband Zeus with the opportunities for his numerous amorous adventures. When Hera discoverd this, she condemned Echo to only beeing able to answer with the words shhad heard last. According to Ovid's Metamorphoses she fell in love with Narcissus, but wasn't able to express her love tohim, so she retired to a cavern, where she wasted away until only her voice was left. Following Longos in "Daphnis & Chloe", Echo's bones were scattered all over the world by sheperds made furious by Pan, whose love Echo wouldn't return. Valerius Flaccus and Horace call the echo "imago".
Striggio's text shows some differences compared to Amalteo's text, which can be seen in Già Ninfa hor voce by Iacopo Corfini, which is practically identical to Amalteo's text.

Italian.png Italian text

Già Nimfa, hor voce, da le membra scossa,
E de le voci altrui conforme imago,
Che tra riposte valli d’aer vago
Ne vai prendendo nutrimento e possa,
Mentre ch’al suon de miei lamenti mossa
Mi fai di duol e di morte presago,
L’alma mi trae da gl’occhi un tristo lago,
Che ne vorria fuggir la carne e l’ossa.
Se ricercando tregua a miei dolori
Grido: qual fin havrà si duro scempio?
“Empio”, rispondi, e mi turbi e spaventi;
E se con l’aura di sospir riempio
Il ciel, e mercè chieggio ai nostri amori
Mori rispondi con estremi accenti.

German.png German translation

Einst Nymphe, nun Stimme, mit verstreuten Gliedern,
und von anderen Stimmen dem Abbild verglichen,
die du in versteckten Tälern von angenehmen Lüften
Nahrung und Kraft dir nehmend dich ergehst,
während du, vom Klang meiner Klagen bewegt,
mir Pein und Tod voraussagst,
entlässt die Seele aus meinen Augen einen tristen See,
aus dem sich entfernen möchte das Fleisch und die Gebeine.
Und wenn ich, Waffenstillstand erbittend für meine Schmerzen,
rufe: welches Ende wird meine harte Marter nehmen?
antwortest du: „Ruchloser!“ und erschreckst und verstörst mich;
und wenn ich mit dem Hauch von Seufzern erfülle
den Himmel, und um Mitleid mit unserer Liebe bitte,
antwortest du: „Du stirbst.“ mit schrecklichem Ausdruck.

Translation by Gerhard Weydt
English.png English translation

Once nymph, now voice, with scattered limbs,
and by other voices likened to an image,
you that in hidden valleys only by taking in agreeable air
go around getting feed and power,
while you, moved by the sound of my laments,
prophesy me pain and death,
the soul draws out of my eyes a dismal lake,
out of which flesh and bones wish to flee.
And if, calling for a truce for my sufferings,
I cry: which end will have such hard torture,
“Impious”, you answer, and frighten and disturb me;
and if with the breath of sighs I fill
heaven, and call for mercy because of our love,
“You die,” you answer, with extreme accents.

Translation by Gerhard Weydt