Music for a Monday: El Bajel que no recela (Jose de Nebra)

I’ve been hearing a lot about Patricia Petibon for some time, so when I found myself in a bookshop recently, with a book voucher and Patricia Petibon’s CD “Nouveau Monde”, purporting to be Baroque arias and songs themed around voyages to new lands, I decided to give it a try.

This was the first track on the CD.

I love this.  It starts out sounding like your normal, well-behaved sort of baroque aria, and you listen along politely, perhaps reading the lyrics, which compare love to a sudden tempest in one’s previously tranquil life (Björk might agree with this idea), and then all of a sudden, there she goes, up into the stratosphere, and just stays there, showing off with mad octave leaps all over the place, and every note clear and sweet as a bell.  I especially like the very end section where she goes sirening up and down, making me giggle, before going up and up and up, absolutely perfectly, to the very end.

Lyrics are below:

El bajel que no recela
que se altere el mar sereno,
ve una nube y oye un trueno
y ya teme el zozobrar.

Asi el alma estando ufana,
el precepto es de Diana,
tempestad que la desvela
con que empieza a naufragar.

The vessel which suspects not
that the tranquil sea will ever change,
spies a cloud, hears a roll of thunder,
and now fears being wrecked.

Thus too a soul filled with pride,
such is Diana’s divine command,is disturbed by a tempest
and begins to founder.

And that’s just the start of the CD.  The whole thing is magical beyond belief and definitely not your standard baroque compilation.  Composers include Handel, Purcell, Rameu, Charpentier and Le Bailly, and very baroque pieces are interspersed with more Renaissaince-sounding material and South American folk songs like Tonada La Lata.  I particularly enjoyed, Yo soy la locura (I am madness),  by Le Bailly (sung here by Montserrat Figueras), and J’ai vu le loup (I saw the wolf), a traditional piece (sung here by I’m not sure who, I’m afraid!).  But it’s all amazing and worth a listen.

Nothing really compares to those mad sirens at the start, though.

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