Favola in Musica I - after Monteverdi's madrigal `O Sia tranquillo il mare'


chamber ensemble of 3 players
Mixed Chamber Ensemble
Commissioned by Nicholas Daniel
First Performance
17.7.90, Cheltenham International Festival, PittvillePump Room, Cheltenham: Nicholas Daniel/Julius Drake/Joy Farrall

Playing score 0-571-55626-4 on sale

Programme Notes

This ‘fable in music’ is a retelling of Claudio Monteverdi’s madrigal for two voices ‘O sia tranquillo il mare’. Whether the sea is calm or rough, says the poet, he will remain waiting for his love to return. But there is no sign of her and his laments are carried away on the winds: “Never, never shall I leave here.” I have planted a number of other allusions to the sea, melancholy and separation: Dorabella and Fiordiligi invoke calm winds for their lovers’ sea journey in ‘Cosi’, Monteverdi’s Penelope waits for Ulysses, and there is an echo of Tristan’s castle in Brittany. In May 1990 while I was writing this work another great Venetian composer, Luigi Nono, died. Like Monteverdi he wrote music haunted by death and the sea. I have woven a thread of Nono’s music through this lament. 'Favola in Musica' was commissioned by Nicholas Daniel and Joy Farrall and first performed by them at the 1990 Cheltenham Festival.

© John Woolrich

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News & Reviews

'Favola in Musica I' reviews

‘More than a ‘story in music’, it was a story about music, using a cadence from a Monteverdi madrigal to wander through musical history as far as Mozart, Wagner and (less identifiably) Nono. Beautifully made …’ The Times (Paul Griffiths), 20 July 1990 Read more

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