Salvatore Sciarrino – Responsorio delle Tenebre

In recent times, one of the Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino‘s significant interests has been the life & music of his compatriot Carlo Gesualdo. Sciarrino’s opera Luci mie traditrici, composed in 2003, explored the events surrounding Gesualdo’s murder of his wife & her lover, & two years earlier he wrote a small choral work in response to the composer’s much-lauded setting of the Tenebrae services.

However, Sciarrino’s Responsorio delle Tenebre does not, in fact, draw on the texts used in Tenebrae (or indeed Gesualdo’s music), but is a setting of Psalm 54. The text, uttered in the midst of “strangers” & “enemies”, is a rather desperate plea for vindication & rescue, & Sciarrino’s approach is simultaneously robust & vulnerable. Each of the seven verses is sung twice (in the order 1-2-3-1-2-3-4-5-6-4-5-6-7-7), oscillating between a stark, bold delivery using plainchant & a quavering collection of overlapping wails & sobs, focussed on & around a single note. Such an extreme contrast as this makes the latter verses sound all the more acute & desperate, something that Sciarrino extends as the piece progresses, resulting in an almost crazed display of keening & muttering.

It’s performed here by EXAUDI, directed by James Weeks, from a concert broadcast in January 2010.

Salvatore Sciarrino – Responsorio delle Tenebre

FLAC [22Mb]

Text
Deus, in nomine tuo salvum me fac:
et in virtute tua judica me.

Deus, exaudi orationem meam:
auribus percipe verba oris mei.

Quoniam alieni insurrexerunt adversum me,
et fortes quaesierunt animam meam:
et non proposuerunt Deum ante conspectum suum.

Deus, in nomine tuo salvum me fac:
et in virtute tua judica me.

Deus, exaudi orationem meam:
auribus percipe verba oris mei.

Quoniam alieni insurrexerunt adversum me,
et fortes quaesierunt animam meam:
et non proposuerunt Deum ante conspectum suum.

Ecce enim Deus adjuvat me:
et Dominus susceptor est animae meae.

Averte mala inimicis meis:
et in veritate tua disperde illos.

Voluntarie sacrificabo tibi:
et confitebor nomini tuo, Domine, quoniam bonum est.

Ecce enim Deus adjuvat me:
et Dominus susceptor est animae meae.

Averte mala inimicis meis:
et in veritate tua disperde illos.

Voluntarie sacrificabo tibi:
et confitebor nomini tuo, Domine, quoniam bonum est.

Quoniam ex omni tribulatione eripuisti me:
et super inimicos meos despexit oculus meus.

Quoniam ex omni tribulatione eripuisti me:
et super inimicos meos despexit oculus meus.

O God, save me in thy name:
and judge me in thy strength.

O Lord, hear my prayer:
and hearken to the words of my mouth.

For strangers have risen up against me,
and the mighty have sought after my soul:
and have not set God before their eyes.

O God, save me in thy name:
and judge me in thy strength.

O Lord, hear my prayer:
and hearken to the words of my mouth.

For strangers have risen up against me,
and the mighty have sought after my soul:
and have not set God before their eyes.

Behold, God is my helper:
and the Lord upholdeth my soul.

Turn back the evil upon
mine enemies: and destroy them in thy truth.

Freely will I sacrifice unto thee:
and will praise thy name, O Lord, for it is good.

Behold, God is my helper:
and the Lord upholdeth my soul.

Turn back the evil upon
mine enemies: and destroy them in thy truth.

Freely will I sacrifice unto thee:
and will praise thy name, O Lord, for it is good.

For thou hast delivered me out of all trouble:
and mine eye hath looked down upon mine enemies.

For thou hast delivered me out of all trouble:
and mine eye hath looked down upon mine enemies.

Posted on by 5:4 in Lent Series
Tags: ,

Add a Comment

Anti-Spam Quiz: