Two madrigals for three female voices (Juice Vocal Ensemble) setting sonnets by Petrach



July 16, 2010

Gavin’s Notes:


1. “Io amai sempre” (Petrarch: Rime Sparse 85)

Io amai sempre, et amo forte ancora,

et son per amar più di giorno in giorno

quel dolce loco ove piangendo torno

spesse fiate quando Amor m’accora;


et son fermo d’amare il tempo et l’ora

ch’ogni vil cura mi levar dintorno,

et più colei lo cui bel viso adorno

di ben far co’ suoi esempli m’innamora.


Ma chi pensò veder mai tutti insieme

per assalirmi il core, or quindi or quinci,

questi dolce nemici ch’ i’ tant’ amo?


Amor, con quanto sforzo oggi mi vinci!

et se non ch’ al desio cresce la speme,

i’ cadrei morto ove più viver bramo.


Translation by Robert M. Durling

I have always loved and still I love and I shall day by day love even more that sweet place where weeping I return many times when Love saddens me;

And I am fixed in loving the time and the hour that removed every low care from around me, and above all her whose lovely face makes me in love with doing well, thanks to her example.

But whoever thought to see them all together, to assail my heart now from this side, now from that, these sweet enemies that I so much love?

Love, with what power today you vanquish me! And, except that hope increases with desire, I would fall dead, where I most desire to live.


2. “Solo et pensoso” (Petrarch: Rime Sparse 35)

Solo et pensoso i più deserti campi

vo mesurando a passi tardi et lenti,

et gli occhi porto per fuggire intenti

ove vestigio uman la rena stampi.


Altro schermo non trovo che mi scampi

dal manifesto accorger de le genti,

perché negli atti d’allegrezza spenti

di fuor si legge com’ io dentro avampi.


Si ch’ io mi credo omai che monti et piagge

et fiumi et selve sappian di che tempre

sia la mia vita, ch’ è celata altrui;


ma pur sì aspre vie né sì selvagge

cercar non so ch’ Amor non venga sempre

ragionando con meco, et io con lui.


Translation by Robert M. Durling

Alone and filled with care, I go measuring the most deserted fields with steps delaying and slow, and I keep my eyes alert so as to flee from where any human footprint marks the sand.

No other shield do I find to protect me from people’s open knowing, for in my bearing, in which all happiness is extinguished, anyone can read from without how I am aflame within.

So that I believe by now that mountains and shores and rivers and woods know the temper of my life, which is hidden from other persons;

but still I cannot seek paths so harsh or so savage that Love does not always come along discoursing with me and I with him.



Gavin Bryars