Cantai mentre ch'i arsi (Cipriano de Rore)

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  • (Posted 2020-04-27)  CPDL #58227: 
Original key (high chiavette):        
Transposed down a fourth:       - Alto in transposed violin clef.
Editor: Pothárn Imre (submitted 2020-04-27).   Score information: A4, 5 pages, 144 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Transcribed from 1552 Gardano print. Original note values. Since the Quintus has a slightly higher tessitura than the Tenor, we put Quintus as Tenor I and Tenor as Tenor II.
  • (Posted 2018-11-15)  CPDL #52032:     
Editor: Allen Garvin (submitted 2018-11-15).   Score information: Letter, 6 pages, 117 kB   Copyright: CC BY NC
Edition notes:
  • (Posted 2014-08-10)  CPDL #32656:         
Editor: Gerd Eichler (submitted 2014-08-10).   Score information: A4, 5 pages, 67 kB   Copyright: CPDL
Edition notes: Transcribed from original print, Mensurstrich layout, original note values and key signature, musica ficta clearly marked.

General Information

Title: Cantai mentre ch'i arsi
Composer: Cipriano de Rore
Lyricist: Giovanni Brevio

Number of voices: 5vv   Voicing: SATTB
Genre: SecularMadrigal

Language: Italian
Instruments: A cappella

First published: 1542 in Il primo libro de madrigali a cinque voci, Edition 1, no. 1
    2nd published: 1544 in Il primo libro de madrigali a cinque voci, Edition 3, no. 3
    3rd published: 1584 in Spoglia amorosa (Scotto), no. 9, p. 11
    4th published: 1592 in Pratum musicum (ed. Emanuel Adriaenssen) – arr. for two voices and lute, Edition 2, no. 18

External websites:

Original text and translations

Italian.png Italian text

Cantai, mentre ch'i arsi, del mio foco
La viva fiamma ov'io morendo vissi,
Ben che quant'io cantai e quant’io scrissi
Di madonna e d’amor fu nulla o poco.
Ma se i begli occhi ond’il mio cor s’accese,
Del lor chiaro divin almo splendore
Non m’havessero a torto fatto indegno,
Col canto havrei l’interno e grave ardore
A gl’orecchi di tal fatto palese
Che pietà fora ov’alberga ira e sdegno.
A gl’amorosi strali fermo segno sarei,
pieno di dolce aspro martiro
Ov’hora in libertà piagno e sospiro:
Ay, pace in cor d’amanti non ha loco.

English.png English translation

I sang while I burned from the living flame
of my fire, in which I, dying, lived,
although what I sang and what I wrote
of my lady and of love were nothing, or little.
But if the fair eyes whence my heart was ignited
had not wrongly found me unworthy
of their bright, divine, life-giving splendor,
with song I would have revealed
my inward grievous passion to her ears,
so that there might be pity where anger and disdain now dwell.
I would be a sure mark
for amorous arrows, full of sweet, bitter suffering
where now in freedom I weep and sigh.
Oh, peace has no place in the hearts of lovers!