A short madrigal for seven voices – three sopranos; countertenor; tenor; baritone; bass
In 2010 the Akademie Schloss Solitude, near Stuttgart in Germany, celebrated its twentieth anniversary with a series of events and projects.
For the anniversary evening – July 17 – at the Theaterhaus, Stuttgart the festival organizers planned four concerts in four different rooms; each with a different ensemble constellation featuring short compositions by as many former composition fellows as possible. Each composer was asked to follow the rule that each composition should begin and end with the Tristan Chord (B-F, D#-G# or Eb-Ab), thus separating the individual compositions for the listener during the concert.
The Tristan Chord functions as the connection between the individual contributions.
At the invitation of his good friend Jean-Baptiste Joly (director of the Akademie since its inception) Gavin Bryars wrote an unaccompanied vocal piece, the “Solitude Madrigal”, for Neue Vocalsolisten Suttgart
“Nova angeletta” (Petrarch: Rime Sparse 106)
Nova angeletta sovra l’ale accorta
scese dal cielo in su la fresca riva
là ‘nd’ io passava sol per mio destino.
Poi che senza compagna et senza scrota
mi vide, un laccio che di seta ordiva
tese fra l’erba ond’ è verde il camino.
Allor fui preso, et non mi spiacque poi,
si dolce lume uscia degli occhi suoi.
A new little angel on agile wings came down from heaven to the fresh shore where I was walking alone by my destiny.
Since she saw me without companion and without guide, a silken snare which she was making she stretched in the grass wherewith the way is green.
Then I was captured, and it did not displease me later, so sweet a light came from her eyes!
(Translation by Robert M Durling)