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La Rota Fortuna: Chansons & lute solos in honor of Francesco Spinacino, fl. 1507

by Mignarda

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Fortuna desperata Iniquita et maledecta Che di tal donna electa La fama hai denigrata, Fortuna desperata. Sempre sia bestemmiata La tua perfida fede, Che in te non ha merzede O morte dispietata Inimica et crudele, Che d’alto piu che stelle L’hai cusi abasata, Fortuna desperata. *** Desperate fortune, Unjust and cruel, Who has blackened the good name Of a woman beyond compare, Desperate Fortune. May your treacherous faith Always be cursed, For there is no mercy in you. O pitiless death, Hostile and cruel That abased her Who stood higher than the stars, Desperate Fortune.
Quant de vous seul je pers la veue De qui tant chiere suis tenue Mon mal lors si tres for m’assault Qu’a peu que le cueur ne me fault Tant suis de douleur es perdue. Pour estre vostre devenue Plus que nul qui soit soubz la nue, Toute ma joie me default Dont je voi bien qu je suis nue De tous biens comme beste mue, A qui de plus riens il ne chault; Car je scais bien qu’estre me fault Seulle de tous bien despourveue. *** When I only lose sight of you, You, by whom I am so cherished, My grief, then, that assails me so strongly That it would take little for my heart to fail, So overcome with sorrow am I. Because I have become yours, More than anyone’s beneath heaven, All my joy fails me Then well do I see that I am stripped Of all goods, like a shedding beast, For whom nothing any longer is warming. For well I know that I must be Alone and unprovided for.
Seule à part moy en ma chambre parée Plaine de deuil toute dé semparée Disant à Dieu qu’il me faisoit grant tort. Plus qu’il souffroit que la dolente mort M’eust de mon bien si soudain sé parée. Quant je me veiz si tresfort égarée Pour ma douleur à mille comparée Je fuz alors de m’occire d’acord. Comme la plus du monde préparée A recepvoir la mort désesparée Car plus en plus mon mal écroissoit fort. S’espoir ne fus qui me donné confort Je me fusse de mourir préparée. === Alone and to myself, in a well-adorned room, I make many regrets, separated from joy, saying to God that he did me a great wrong in allowing sad Death to bereave me of all I valued. When I saw myself so very lost, because of my incomparable sadness, I wished to end my suffering. Alone and to myself.... As the best prepared in the world for suffering death, which I wished for so much, I saw then that suffering was increasing so much that if Hope had not given me comfort I would have despaired a hundred thousand times. Alone and to myself...
Je ne fay plus, Je ne dis, n’escrips, En mains escrips L’on trouvera me regrets et mes plains. De larmes plains, Le moins mal que je puis les des crips Toute ma joye est de soupirs escrips, En dueil et cris Il est a naistre A qui je m’en plains. Je ne fay plus, etc… Sil mes sens Ont aucuns doulx motz rescriptz, Ils sont parscriptz, Je passe temps pars desers et mes plainss, Et la me plains d’aulcunes Gens plus traistres quant escris. Je ne fay plus, etc… ** I do no more, I say no more, nor do I write In many a writing You will find my regrets and complaints. Full of tears, that is the least I can say about it. All my joy is written in sighs, in sorrow and weeping, he has yet to be born, he to whom I can complain. I do no more, etc… If my feelings gave rise to any sweet words, they are now no more. I spend my time in regrets & complaints, And I lament For I am betrayed I do no more, etc…
Amours, amours trop me fiers de tes dars, Ne say se c'est d'arbarlestes ou de arcz. Mais de douleur me sens au vif setainct, Et croy, se brief n'est mon grief mal estainct; Oultre m'en voys par telz creulz souldars. Car en tout temps d'un ardent feu me ars Par quoyne puis durer en nul les pars, Tant ay de gref dont ne suis d'ame plaint Dy moy pourquoy telz tourmens me depars Ou que l'ame du corps ne me depars. Sans que aye le cueur d'angoisses sy contrainct Que a paine say, tant suis d'ennuy estrainct, S'il est entier, ou s'en au fait deux pars. *** Love, love, you oppose me too much with your arrows. I know not if they are from longbows or crossbows, but feel myself stabbed to the quick with pain And I believe that if I am not soon relieved of this agony I will be killed by these cruel mercenaries. For at every moment I am burning with a flaming fire, which I cannot survive at all, such do I suffer from the grief filling my soul. Tell me why you ruin me with such torments, or why my soul is not yet parted from my body, let alone having my heart so pressed by anguish That I hardly know (so badly am I gripped by vexation) if it is whole, or if it has been cut in two.
If ever you should raise your face in wonder To the clear heavens, O blind people, Think of the true Lord of Paradise. Sweet, loving, & gentle: He gave his very life as a noble ransom. He offered his blood for those Unworthy even to look upon him. What man is there Who could weary of weeping Contemplating such suffering, and such a death, Though he had a heart of stone? And he awaits us with outstretched arms.
J'ay pris amours a ma devise I have taken love as my device to conquer love I will be joyous this summer if I succeed in this undertaking. If anyone scorns me he must be forgiven. I think this is the way; Whoever has nothing is rejected and honored by no one. Should I not then aspire to this?
Comment peult avoir joye, Qui Fortune contient? L’oysiau qui pert sa proye De jeusne lui souvient : Au boys sur la verdure N’a point tout son desir : De chanter il n’a cure Qui vit en desplaisir. How can he be joyful, who is constrained by fortune? The bird which loses its prey thinks of fasting: in the green woods it has not its desire. He cares not to sing who lives in disappointment.
Mon mari m’a diffamée Pour l’amour de mon amy, Pour la longue demourée Que j’ay faicte avecque luy. En dépit de mon mary, Qui me va toujours batant, J’en feray pis que devant. J’ay veu quant j’estoie couchée Entre les bras de mon amy, Je n’estoie pas si fachée Comme je suis au jourd’huy. En dépit de mon mary, Qui me va toujours batant, J’en feray pis que devant. J’ay esté mainte nuytée Courir avec mon amy, Que l’on me cuydoit couchée En mon lict avec mon mary. En dépit de mon mary, Qui me va toujours batant, J’en feray pis que devant. My husband has slandered me Because of my love for another. Because of the long time I have spent with him. To spite my husband, Who is always beating me, I shall do worse than before! When I was sleeping In the arms of my beloved I was not as cross As I am today. To spite my husband... Many nights, I have been with my lover When everyone thought I was sleeping In bed with my husband. To spite my husband...
Adieu, mes amours, m'attend Ma boursse ne'enffle ne n'entend, Et brief, je suis en desarroy, Jusquez a ce qu'il plaise au roy Me faire avancer de content. Farewell, my love, they are awaiting me. My purse is not swelling or expanding and, in short, I am in disarray, until it pleases the king to advance my dispute.


A beguiling program of chansons & lute solos from c.1507. At once passionate & refined, the texts of the sparkling & complex rondeaux reflect on the cyclical nature of Fortune, which permeated poetical and philosophical writings from antiquity onwards.

Denys Stephens, Lute News (UK) says of Rota Fortuna:
"Donna Stewart sings these superbly, expertly negotiating the technical difficulties and bringing to life their refined but passionate emotion. Ron Andrico's lute gently interweaves the lower voices of the chansons. This involves some quite dextrous playing, but it always supports and never overwhelms the vocal part....Essential listening for any lute player interested in the late 15th/ early 16th century repertoire."


released January 1, 2007

Donna Stewart, voice
Ron Andrico, lute

Recorded, mixed & mastered by Al Grunwell at Fingerlakes Recording Studio, Ithaca, NY

All performing scores copyright 2007 Mignarda Editions.


all rights reserved



Mignarda Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Mignarda specializes in thoughtful programming illuminating the vibrant mingling of renaissance music & poetry. Noted for awakening modern audiences to an appreciation for historical music, their work encompasses concertizing, teaching & recording, with 12 critically-acclaimed CDs, a series of 12 music editions, scholarly articles, reviews and the internationally-popular blog, Unquiet Thoughts. ... more

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