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Henri IV - An unfinished reign

Listen to the the music tracks


Jacopo Peri

Source : ‘Jacopo Peri: L’Euridice’; ensemble Les Arts baroques; dir. Mireille Podeur; Maguelone 98 (1993).


This mythological and allegorical dramma per musica, with its prologue and five scenes, was first performed on 6 October 1600 at the Pitti Palace. A small group attended, on the fourth day of the festivities celebrating the proxy wedding of Henri IV and Marie de Médicis. It was composed in stile rappresentativo (a dramatic recitative style of the early Baroque era) based on the humanist efforts of the Camerata de' Bardi. By placing a single melodic part (monody) over an independent base line, this group of artists and intellectuals sought to revive the declamatory musical style of Antiquity. This work is considered to be the first opera in history.

Transcription (in French)

La Tragedia.
Vostro Regina, fia contanto alloro
Qual forse ancor non colse Atene, o Roma,
Fregio non vil su l’onorata chioma
Fronda Febea fra due corone d’oro.

Tal per voi torno, e con sereno aspetto
N’e Reali Imenei m’adorno anch’io,
E su corde più liete il canto mio
Tempro al nobil cor dolce diletto…

(La Tragédie.
Ainsi votre couronne, ô Reine, sera telle
Que jamais encore n’en cueillirent Athènes ni Rome,
Digne ornement sur votre chevelure honorée,
Rameau phébéen entre deux couronnes d’or.

Ainsi pour vous je reviens, et sous un aspect plus serein
Moi aussi je me pare pour de royaux hyménées,
Et sur des notes plus joyeuses j’accorde mon chant
Pour le plus doux plaisir des cœurs nobles…)

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