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On behalf of the muses

by Mignarda

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Vergine bella, che di sol vestita, coronata di stelle, al sommo Sole piacesti sí, che 'n te Sua luce ascose, amor mi spinge a dir di te parole: ma non so 'ncominciar senza tu' aita, et di Colui ch'amando in te si pose. Invoco lei che ben sempre rispose, chi la chiamò con fede: Vergine, s'a mercede miseria extrema de l'humane cose già mai ti volse, al mio prego t'inchina, soccorri a la mia guerra, bench'i' sia terra, et tu del ciel regina. - Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374) O Virgin fair, arrayed in the sun, crowned with stars, You who found such favor with the highest Sun that he hid his light in you, Love drives me to speak of you. But I cannot even begin without your aid and the aid of Him who established Himself in you. I invoke her who has always answered those Who called upon her with faith. Lady, if extreme misery in things of earth ever turned you to pity, Bend down to to my prayer, help me in my struggle Though I be clay, And you the queen of heaven! translation by Donna Stewart
Quand'io pens'al martire Amor que tu mi dai gravos'e forte Corro per gir'a morte Cosi sperando i miei danni finire. Ma poi ch'io giung'al passo Che port' in questo mar pien di tormento Tanto piacer ne sento Che l'alma si rinforza ond'io no'l passo, Cosi l' viver m' ancide Cosi la morte mi ritorn' in vita O miseria infinita Che l'un apporta e l'altro non recide. When I think of the suffering Love, the heavy burdens that you give me I hasten toward death, hoping therefore to end mine own damnation. But then I reach the passage, I stand at the port of this same sea of heartache. Overwhelmed with such delight. That my soul is strengthened by passing through. Thus, living kills me; thus dying, life returns. O endless misery: one gives, and the other takes away. (Pietro Bembo CANZONE VI. (XIII.), translated by Donna Stewart
Madonna, per voi ardo Et voi non me credete Perche non pia quanto bella sete Ogn’hora miro e guardo Se tanta crudeltà cangiar volete. Donna, non v’accorgete Che per voi moro e ardo? Et per mirar vostra beltà infinita Et voi sola servir bramo la vita. My lady, I burn with love for you And you do not believe it, For you are not as kind as you are beautiful. I look at you and admire you constantly. If you wish to change this great cruelty, Lady, are you unaware That for you I die and burn? And in order to admire your infinite beauty And to serve you alone, I desire life.
Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum, ita desiderat anima mea ad te, Deus. Sitivit anima mea ad Deum fortem vivum: quando veniam et apparebo ante faciem Dei? Fuerunt mihi lacrymae meae panes die ac nocte, dum dicitur mihi quotidie: Ubi est Deus tuus? As the hart longs for the water springs, So longs my soul for thee, O God. My soul has thirsted for the living God: When shall I come and appear before the face of my God? My tears have been my bread by day and by night, While it is said to me daily: Where is your God?
Tantum ergo Sacramentum Veneremur cernui: Et antiquum documentum novo cedat ritui: Praestet fides supplementum sensuum defectui. Genitori, Genitoque laus et iubilatio, Salus, honor, virtus quoque sit et benedictio: Procedenti ab utroque Compar sit laudatio. Amen. Let us therefore, bowing low, Venerate so great a Sacrament; And let the old law give way to the new rite; Let faith afford assistance to the deficiency of the senses. To the Begetter and the Begotten let there be praise and jubilation, Salvation and honor, and power and blessing; And to the One proceeding from both Let there be equal praise.
Me me and none but me, dart home O gentle death and quicklie, for I draw too long this idle breath: O howe I long till I may fly to heaven above, unto my faithfull and beloved turtle dove. Like to the silver Swanne, before my death I sing: And yet alive my fatall knell I helpe to ring. Still I desire from earth and earthly joyes to flie, He never happie liv’d, that cannot love to die.
If that a Sinners sighes be Angels foode from Singles by Mignarda Wishlist supported by David Smith thumbnail 00:00 / 03:59 Streaming + Download Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more. $1 USD or more about If that a Sinners sighes be Angels foode by John Dowland (1563 - 1626) This devotional song was published in Dowland's Pilgrimes Solace in 1612 (No. XIII). Dowland was probably familiar with William Byrd's five-part setting of the same text found in Psalmes, Sonets, & songs of sadnes and pietie, London, 1588, (no.30), but Dowland chose to set only the first verse with a few minor modifications to the words. Our recording includes the fifth and final verse from Byrd's setting of the poetry. lyrics If that a Sinners sighes be Angels foode, Or that repentant teares be Angels wine, Accept O Lord in this most pensiue moode, These hearty sighes and dolefull plaints of mine. That went with Peter forth most sinfully, But not as Peter did, weepe [most] bitterly. [Thy mercie greater is then any sinne, thy greatnesse non can ever comprehend: wherefore O Lord, let mee thy mercie winne, whose glorious name no time can ever end: wherefore I say all prayse belongs to thee, whom I beseech bee mercifull to mee.] Additional verse from William Byrd, Psalmes, Sonets, & songs of sadnes and pietie (London, 1588), no.30
Susanna faire some time assaulted was, by two old men, desiring their delight: whose false entent they thought to bring to passe, if not by tender love, by force & might, To whom she said, if I your sute denye, you will mee falsely accuse, and make mee die. And if I graunt to that which you request, my chastitie shall then deflouered bee, which is so deer to mee, that I detest my lyfe, if it beerefted bee from mee, And rather would I dye of mine accord, ten thousand times, than once offend the Lord.
Sleepe slumbringe eyes, give rest vnto my cares, my cares, the Infants of my troubled braine, my cares surprisde, surprisde with Black dispaire doth the assertion of my hopes restraine. Sleepe then my eyes ô sleep & take your Reste To banishe sorrow from a free borne Breste. My freborn brest born Free to sorrowes Smarte brought in subiection by my wandringe Eye Whose traytrus sighte conceivd that to my harte, For which I waile, I sob, I sighe, I Dye. Sleepe then my eyes, disturbed of quiet reste, To banishe sorrow From my captive breste. My captive brest, stounge by these glistringe starres: these glistringe starres: the bewty of the skye: that bright blacke skye which doth the soon beames baine: From Her sweete comforte on my harts sad eye: Wake then my eyes trewe partners of vnreste: For Sorrow still must harboure in my breste.
Come away, come away, death, And in sad cypress let me be laid. Fly away, fly away, breath; I am slain by a fair cruel maid. My shroud of white, stuck all with yew, O, prepare it! My part of death, no one so true Did share it. Not a flower, not a flower sweet, On my black coffin let there be strown. Not a friend, not a friend greet My poor corpse, where my bones shall be thrown. A thousand thousand sighs to save, Lay me, O, where Sad true lover never find my grave, To weep there!
Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain; Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink And rise and sink and rise and sink again; Love can not fill the thickened lung with breath, Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone; Yet many a man is making friends with death Even as I speak, for lack of love alone. It well may be that in a difficult hour, Pinned down by pain and moaning for release, Or nagged by want past resolution's power, I might be driven to sell your love for peace, Or trade the memory of this night for food. It well may be. I do not think I would. -Edna St. Vincent Millay
No more shall meads be deck’d with flow’rs, Nor sweetness live in rosy bow’rs, Nor greenest buds on branches spring, Nor warbling birds delight to sing, Nor April violets paint the grove, When once I leave my Celia’s love. The fish shall in the ocean burn, And fountains sweet shall bitter turn; The humble vale no floods shall know, When floods shall highest hills o’erflow: Black Lethe shall oblivion leave, Before my Celia I deceive. Love shall his bow and shafts lay by, And Venus’ doves want wings to fly: The sun refuse to show his light, And day shall then be turned to night; And in that night no star appear, Whene’er I leave my Celia dear. Love shall no more inhabit Earth, Nor lovers more shall love for worth; Nor joy above in Heaven dwell, Nor pain torment poor souls in hell: Grim Death no more shall horrid prove, Whene’er I leave bright Celia’s love. -Thomas Carew
Bist du bei mir, geh ich mit Freuden zum Sterben und zu meiner Ruh. Ach, wie vergnügt wär so mein Ende, es drückten deine schönen Hände mir die getreuen Augen zu. If you are with me, then I will go gladly to death and to my rest. Ah, what a delightful end for me, if your lovely hands close my faithful eyes.


On behalf of the Muses, our twelfth album, is a compilation of favorites and most-requested pieces that do not otherwise appear on our recorded programs. The collection includes several live recordings and some pieces that were performed for specific events. Our recorded program ranges from the mid fifteenth century "Vergine Bella" by DuFay, debuts our own unique setting of Shakespeare's "Come away death", includes our very first recording ever, "No more shall meads be deck’d with flow’rs", and ends with a live impromptu recording of “Bist du bei mir”, a favorite aria from the 1725 Anna Magdalena Bach notebook.


released February 18, 2019

Donna Stewart, voice; Ron Andrico, lute. All music arranged by Ron Andrico, Mignarda Editions


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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 17 critically-acclaimed CDs, a series of 16 music editions, scholarly articles, reviews and the internationally-popular blog, Unquiet Thoughts. ... more

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