Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Subtlety of English Madrigals

Greetings readers!

I am back after a bit of a hiatus where I was off travelling in Spain but I am now back for the summer. Upon arriving home, I had the chance to make my way out to The Ranch to sing for the Pro Coro Golf Tournament Fundraiser. We chose two quick-read and familiar pieces, "Alta Trinita Beata" a sacred hymn and "Come Again! Sweet Love Doth Now Invite" by John Dowland. Now most of you all probably know, and if you do not, you probably should know, that English madrigals are largely centered around two topics:

1. Spring
2. Sex

In some madrigals, the sexual innuendos are tastefully scattered throughout the piece. Perhaps in a censored and frolicking "fa la la la" chorus? Many other times, however, the text is not so subtle in suggesting its alternative meaning. Take, for example, the third phrase from "Come Again! Sweet Love Doth Now Invite" (you can probably already read the double meaning from that title).

Gentle love, Draw forth thy wounding dart
Thou canst not pierce her heart; For I, that to approve
By sighs and tears more hot than are my shafts
Did tempt, Did tempt while she for scanty triumph laughs

So many terms to describe phallic images. Classy. It's hard to sing with a straight face coming from my 21st century mindset, but amusing nonetheless! I guess that's what happens when people are cooped up inside for the entirety of Winter. When Springtime arrives... all that repressed sexual energy can finally be unleashed! I suppose in someways I am starting my Spring/Summer off in way a person from the English Renaissance would have approved of. Singing about a good ol' romp in the fields!

Until next time, take care readers!


Holly M said...

So glad I found you -- this was a great read, It's lovely to see someone so interested in this wonderful and fun music style.

misssable said...

Thanks for reading Holly!