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Sfumato: Musica per voce e liuto del Rinascimento Italiano

by Mignarda

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Recercare VI 01:36
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. Vergine pura, d'ogni parte intera, del tuo parto gentil figliuola et madre, ch'allumi questa vita, et l'altra adorni, per te il tuo figlio, et quel del sommo Padre, o fenestra del cielo lucente altera, venne a salvarne in su li extremi giorni; et fra tutti terreni altri soggiorni sola tu fosti electa, Vergine benedetta, che 'l pianto d'Eva in allegrezza torni. Fammi, ché puoi, de la Sua gratia degno, senza fine o beata, già coronata nel superno regno. 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! Virgin pure, perfect in every part; Noble daughter and mother of your gentle Child, You who lighten this life and adorn the other: Your son, Son of the Father, Through you (o shining window of heaven) Came to redeem us at the final day! God selected you alone among all who dwell on the earth. Blessed virgin, who turns the tears of Eve to rejoicing: O make me worthy His grace, You, eternally blessed, crowned in heaven above.
What shall I do? What do you counsel me, Love? It is surely time to die, and I have delyed more than I would wish. My lady is dead, and has my heart with her, And if I wish to follow it I must break off these cruel years, For I never hope to see her on this side, And waiting is painful to me, since by her departure my every joy is turned to weeping, every sweetness of my life is taken away. Love, you feel how great is the bitter heavy loss, And therefore I complain to you; and I know that you are pained by my grief – Or rather ours, for we have wrecked our ship on the same rock And in the same instant the sun is darkened for us both. What skill could ever match in words my sorrowful state? Ah! Bereaved, ungrateful world! You have great reason to weep with me, for with her you have lost all the good that was in you.
Recercar 01:29
Recercar XV 02:37
O passi sparsi, o pensier vaghi et pronti, o tenace memoria, o fero ardore, o possente desire, o debil core, o occhi miei (occhi non già, ma fonti); o fronde, onor de le famose fronti, o sola insegna al gemino valore; o faticosa vita, o dolce errore, che mi fate ir cercando piagge et monti; o bel viso, ove Amore inseme pose gli sproni e ‘l fren ond’ el mi punge et volve come a lui piace, e calcitrar non vale; o anime gentili et amorose, s’ alcuna à ‘l mondo, et voi, nude ombre et polve: deh, ristate a veder quale é ‘l mio male! O scattered steps, O yearning, ready thoughts, O tenacious memory, O savage ardor, O powerful desire, O feeble heart, O my eyes (not eyes, but fountains); O leaves, the honor of famous brows, O sole ensign of the twin deservings, O laborious life, O sweet error, which make me go seeking across shores and mountains; O lovely face where Love has put Both the spurs and the rein with which he rakes nd turns me as he pleases, and no kicking avails; O noble loving souls, i there are any in the world, and you, naked shadows and dust: Ah, stay to see what my suffering is!
Recercar X 01:27
Quando Amor i belli occhi a terra inchina, e i vaghi spirti in un sospiro accoglie co le sue mani, et poi in voce gli scioglie chiara, soave, angelica, divina, sento far del mio cor dolce rapina et sí dentro cangiar penseri et voglie ch’ í’ dico: “Or fien di me l’ultime spoglie: se ‘l ciel sí onesta morte mi destina.” When Love bends her lovely eyes to the ground and with his on hands gathers together her wandering breath into a sigh and then looses it in a clear, soft, angelic, divine voice, I feel my heart sweetly stolen away and my thoughts and desires so change within me that I say: “Now comes the final plundering of me, if Heaven reserves me for so virtuous a death.”
Recercata 02:04
Fantasia 00:51


Sfumato, Mignarda's 8th CD, is a profound and passionate interpretation of forward-looking music for voice and lute from 16th century Italy.

Turmoil and tribulation, disease and death, faith and fraud, passion and pathos describe life in early 16th century Italy. Empires were built and dynasties established by brazen bankers flouting the Church's increasingly tenuous hold on the ambitious nouveau riche merchant class, with their voracious appetite for art and music. These new patrons of the arts commissioned and financed what we have come to call the Renaissance, the manifestation of a commercial response by artists, poets and musicians to meet an increased demand for the trappings of wealth and success.

Composers represented on this CD - from Bartolomeo Tromboncino to Luca Marenzio - were probably not interested in creating Art Songs to be recognized as classics in the 21st century. Musicians flourished based on their skill in setting passionate poetry in the present tense to music that contained a measure of art paired with the pulse of the heart. As with visual art of the period, the superficial meaning might be grasped by the casual observer, but these songs offer a richer, more nuanced experience upon closer examination.


released June 21, 2011

Donna Stewart, voice
Ron Andrico, lute

Recorded, mixed & mastered by Will Russell at Electric Wilburland Studio, Newfield, NY

All performing scores copyright 2011 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 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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