Music in the Time of the Pandemic 2020

During the 2020 Caronavirus pandemic I lost my job and spent many leisure hours at home. A wise person would have focused fiercely on searching for a new job, but I spent my hours listening to operas, oratorios, sacred music from the Baroque era. Music that I have always loved but I have never dug so deeply into before. It started randomly but soon I started keeping a list which I present below. I am not a scholar, just a music lover so this is not a complete list and probably misses many import works and deviates sometimes from the Baroque era. But it is all beautiful music. I have included many links (some are to paid streaming services but others free) so I hope others can enjoy.

I think the one item that stands out the most is the madrigal Ecco mormorar l’onde which comes from Monteverdi’s 2nd book of madrigals. There is a personal story behind it. When I was in college in Vermont about 50 years ago I spent hours in the library listening to music and one line from a beautiful madrigal stuck in my mind, “e tremolar le fronde”.

Ecco mormorar l’onde
e tremolar le fronde
a l’aura mattutina e gl’arborselli.
E sovra i verdi rami i vagh ‘augelli
cantar soavemente
e rider l’oriente.

Ecco gilà l’alb ‘appare
e si specchia nel mare
e rasserena il cielo
e ‘imperla il dolce gielo
e gl ‘alti monti indora.

O bella e vagh ‘aurora
l ‘ aura è tua messaggiera,
e tu de l’aura
ch ‘ogn ‘arso cor ristaura.

My quick translation:

See the rhythm of the waves
and trembling of the branches
the morning breezes entwine the trees
Above songbirds fly
With sweet song
And the eastern sky smiles.

See how the dawn now erupts
And the reflection flashes on the sea
And what a joyful sky
And those sweet gems of frost
And far off the gilded mountain ranges.

Oh, the radiant and shining dawn
the breeze is the messenger
And you are that breeze
Come to restore my withered heart.

In Italian there is added meaning because Torquato Tasso wrote the text as a love poem to a woman named Laura, thus the pun with the many instances of l ‘ aura (translated here as “breeze”) in the text.

The following is the link to the music listings.

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