Monday, May 21, 2012

Amica dies...

Some discussion recently with friends and colleagues about how to occupy the 40-45 minute drive to my new assignment (and home again)…
This led in due course to discussion of personal choices of “going to work music” – or “going home music.”

I rejected the suggestion of ABBA, remembering the poor downtrodden little pastor in the Swedish movie Angel Garden – and if you haven’t seen it… I recommend it.  It’s a little like Chocolat in that the pastor gets something like the “last word,” but don’t let me spoil it for you.

In other times I have had a weakness for Rossini overtures, but they make it hard to stay under the speed limit…

And at the moment, I am listening to Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sir Colin Davis, and the ladies and gentlemen of the London Symphony and Chorus, tackling Mozart.  My particular favorite cut is the last, the “Exsultate, iubilate.”  It takes about fifteen minutes, so I can listen to it three times through each way.

With any luck, I can slide into the church parking lot to the sound of Dame Kiri going right over the top on the triumphant concluding “Alleluias.”  I like the “MOMMA’S HOME” effect.

But along in the middle of the cut, there are a few seconds of thoughtful recitativo, in Latin.  The same words kept jumping out at me – “amica dies”...    ah-me-ka dee-ace ... (friend? day?) – until I finally pulled over, extracted the little “book of words” from the CD case, and checked it out.  Yes.  “Refulget amica dies” – “The friendly daylight shines forth…”  But the English doesn’t capture everything in the Latin…  “Amica dies”  -- “Friend, the day,” or “The day, a friend…” 
Then while I am marveling over the delight in those two words, comes another pair – “inexspectata quies” – which again is so much more than “unexpected quiet” – “unlooked for peace,” “unforeseen tranquility”.

Thanks be to God for Dame Kiri and her crystalline diction – and for those old Romans and their delicious language.

And "friendly daylight" and "unlooked for peace" to one and all.

1 comment:

Towanda said...

ah, Dame Kiri, I love her! Before there was Renee, that was Dame Kiri. Will have to find that CD!