Io vi chiedo o selve amene

Instrumentation: Alto voice, 2 recorders & bc


Format: Sheet music

Product code: Bon1


Giovanni Bononcini (1670-1747) was successful in securing positions in many of continental Europe's centres of musical patronage, where he was held in high regard as both a player and composer.

From 1720 onwards, Bononcini spent a few years in London under the patronage of the Royal Academy of Music. He wrote about 250 cantatas in all; few were published but most, including this one, survive in manuscript collections.

This delightful work has the typical structure of alternating arias and recitatives: the melodies are simple and attractive and the mood is strongly rural and pastoral.

The lover (Florinda) wanders in the pleasant woodland ("selve amene") seeking her love, the recorders suggesting a woodland chorus. But something is wrong – the trees do not send back an echo of her complaints. Only the stream in the second aria seems to offer solace, but even that appears to be searching for something that is never found. In the second recitative, Florinda laments the absence of her beloved, and likens this to living without a heart. The last aria maintains the pastoral mood in a lilting 12/8 time, even though it is an impassioned plea by the lover to be reunited with her love.

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