Lute Festival 2004 Concerts
Music for 300 Strings and Two Dancers

7:30 PM Wednesday, 30 June, Cleveland Museum of Art

Song Texts And Translations

Objét dont les charmes si doux

Objét dont les charmes si doux Object whose gentle charms
M’ont enchaisne sous vostre empire, Have chained me to your empire,
Lors que je suis absent de vous When I am away from you
Mes pleurs tesmoignent mon martyre: My tears testify to my martyrdom:
Et quand je revoy vos appas, And when I see again your charms,
Un excez de plaisir An excess of pleasure
me donne le tréspas. kills me.
Qui veut garder sa liberté, He who would retain his freedom
Doit s’esloigner de vostre veue: Should flee from the sight of you:
Il n’est ny grace ny beauté There is no grace nor beauty
Dont le Ciel ne vous ait pourveue:

That the heavens have not granted you:

Et la conqueste d’un amant

And the conquest of a lover

Ne couste a vos beaux yeux

Costs your beautiful eyes

qu’un regard seulement.  no more than a mere glance.

Doncques pour eviter la mort,

Therefore to avoid death,

Quelle fortune dois-je suivre?

What path should I follow?

Sans vous je m’afflige si fort

Without you I am so strongly afflicted

Qu’il m’est impossible de vivre:

That life is impossible

Et quand je revois vos appas,

And when I see again your charms

Un excez de plaisir An excess of pleasure

me donne le tréspas.

kills me.

Si jamais mon âme blessée

Si jamais mon âme blessée

If ever my wounded soul

Loge ailleurs qu’en vous sa pensée

Thinks of any other than of you

Puisse j’estre pour chastiment

May I, as punishment,

Privé de tout contentement.

Be deprived of all happiness.

Si jamais l’amour d’aultre dame

If ever the love of another lady

Eschaufe mon cuer de sa flame,

Inflames my heart with its fire,

Puisse je esprouver les rigueurs

May I suffer the harshness

De toutes sorte de malheurs.

Of all kinds of misery.

Si jamais le temps n’y l’absence

If ever time or absence

Peuvent esbranler ma constance,

Should shake my constancy

Puisse je sans aucun secour,

May I, without succor,

Languir le reste de mes jours.

Languish for the rest of my days.

Bref soyes moy tousjours cruelle

In short, be forever as cruel to me

Autant que vous me sembles belle

As you seem beautiful to me now

Si je mancque a vostre beauté

If I fail to match your beauty
D’amour et de fidelité.

With love and fidelity.

Cessez amants de servir Angélique

Cessez amants de servir Angélique, Lovers, stop serving Angelica,
Amarillis se peut dire l’unique, Amaryllis may be said to be the only one,
A qui la Cour doit offrir des voeux. To whom the Court must offer vows.
Tous les plus grands appas d’Aminthe, et de Silvie, All the greatest charms of Amintas and Sylvia,
Ne valent pas un des cheveux Are not worth one strand of hair
De celle qui tient ma vie. Of her who holds my life.
Amarillis est un ange visible: Amaryllis is a visible angel:
Qui ne la sert à le coeur insensible Whoever does not serve her has a heart insensitive
A la douceur des plaisirs d’amour To the sweetness of love’s pleasures.
Les divines clairtez que sa beauté nous montre, The divine radiances which her beauty reveals to us,
Font que le grand flambeau du jour Make the great torch of the day
Est honteux de leur rencontre. Ashamed to meet them.

Program Notes

The lute, lightly constructed with a high level of precision in design, reigned supreme as the chief musical instrument among the middle class, nobility, and royalty for three centuries throughout Europe up until the late 18th Century. Tonight’s program features lutes which have been faithfully reconstructed based on museum originals. Although varied somewhat in size, design, stringing configuration, and tuning, the lutes showcased all have rounded backs built from multiple bent wooden ribs, spruce soundboards with intricately carved rose designs, and tied gut frets. Typically, the pegboxes are bent backwards at a near perpendicular angle to the neck, a design both traditional and structurally superior.

Although the lute had become a mainstream musical instrument for both solo and accompanied performance by the 15th C., its widespread everyday use was stimulated by the first prints of music for distribution among the middle class and nobility in the dawn of the 16th Century in Venice, especially in early lute books such as Dalza’s. This trend soon spread throughout Europe, specifically to German-speaking areas and France. Over the next two and half centuries it is estimated that works for the lute found in both printed books and countless manuscripts total more than 60,000 individual pieces!

Such luminaries as Francesco Canova da Milano, Ennemond Gaultier and Sylvius Leopold Weiss achieved fame in their day that transcended the boundaries of their own countries and time. The lute itself became transformed during its heyday from a fairly simple six-course instrument to one with up to thirteen to increase the bass range and sonority. Many sizes and pitches enabled ensembles to produce a great tapestry of sound and color. Ever present in Renaissance and Baroque culture was the desire and also social requirement to refine one’s dance skills as a show of decorum and achievement. Tonight’s dances are closely adapted from choreographies with actual lute accompaniments provided in several late Renaissance Italian treatises.

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Last updated 7 August AD 2004 - DFH