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Tu se morta (Orfeo)

Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

Tu Se' Morta from Orfeo

CD 1, Track 62

Tu se' morta (You are dead) is taken from Monteverdi's, opera, Orfeo and is a good example of early operatic recitative. Note that the vocal line is accompanied by basso continuo only. In this specific instance the continuo is performed on a portable organ and bass lute. Thus the vocal line is clearly the dominant element. The texture is homophonic, the rhythms are free, and the text is sung in a manner resembling speech. Like many composers of the baroque period, Monteverdi makes much use of word painting. For example, the word morta (death) is accompanied by slow somber music. Similarly, at 1:01 the passage più profondi abissi (to the deepest abysses) is heard as a descending melodic line. This is in stark contrast to the ascending passage which accompanies the words riveder le stelle (see the stars again) at 1:19.

62)   Tu sé morta, sé morta, mia vita, You are dead, dead, my life,
:25   ed io respiro; tu sé da me partita, And I breathe; you have left me,
:42   sé da me partita per mai più, You have left me forevermore,
:47   mai più non tornare, ed io rimango-- Never to return, and I remain--
:53   no, no, che se i versi alcuna cosa ponno, No, no, if my verses have any power,
1.01 Low tone on abissi. n'andrò sicuro a' più profondi abissi, I will go confidently to the deepest abysses,
1:08   e, intenerito il cor del re de l'ombre, And, having melted the heart of the king of shadows,
1:19 High tone on stelle. mecco trarrotti a riveder le stelle, Will bring you back to me to see the stars again,
1:28 Low tone on morte. o se ciò negherammi empio destino, rimarrò teco in compagnia di morte. Or, if pitiless fate denies me this, I will remain with you in the company of death.
1:49 High tone on sole. Addio terra, addio cielo, e sole, addio. Farewell earth, farewell sky, and sun, farewell.


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