Jacint Verdaguer - Ramon Casas
Jacint Verdaguer - R. Casas
Today we have a special post:
On March 17th we commemorate the Catalan Poetry on the Internet Day, an initiative of the Open University of Catalonia to make visible catalan poetry's quality and vitality.

Last year we joined the initiative with a poem by Josep Janés and a song by Frederic Mompou, Damunt de tu només les flors. We said back then that it was the most well-known song in Catalan, this year the post is devoted to Jacint Verdaguer (1845-1902), one of the greatest poets in Catalan literature. Verdaguer, a catholic priest, was very popular all along his life, and people used to call him “Mossèn Cinto”, Father Cinto, being Cinto short for Jacint. To give you a rough idea, the number of songs composed from his poems are comparable to Goethe's songs.

Joaquin Rodrigo is among the many composers who wrote after Verdaguer. In 1935 he composed the Tríptic de Mossèn Cinto (Tryptich by Mossèn Cinto), for soprano and orchestra. The three songs are L'harpa sagrada, Lo violí de Sant Francesc and Sant Francesc i la cigala. The work was premiered in Barcelona, at the Palau de la Música Catalana, on 17th October 1946. The performers were Victoria de los Ángeles and the Barcelona Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Joan Pich i Santasusana (see here* the program of that concert).

We are listening to the first song, L'harpa sagrada (The sacred harp); the poem is included in Verdaguer's collection Idil·lis i cants místics (Idylls and Mystic Songs, 1879). The singer is again Victoria de los Ángeles, but this time with the Orchestre de la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire de Paris conducted by Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, in a recording from 1962.

Have a very poetic day!
*broken link (updated 30/3/2016)
L'harpa sagrada 

A l’ Arbre diví
Penjada n’és l’ Harpa
L’ Harpa de David,
en Sion amada.

Son clavier és d’or,
ses cordes de plata,
Mes, com algun temps,
Ja l’amor no hi canta,
que hi fa set gemecs
de dol i enyorança.

S’obrien los cels,
l’infern se tancava,
I al cor de son Déu
La terra és lligada.

A l’últim gemec
lo dia s’apaga,
I es trenquen los rocs
Topant l’un amb l’altre.

També es trenca el cor
d’una Verge Mare
que, escoltant los sons,
a l’ombra plorava:

- Angelets del cel,
despenjau-me l’Harpa,
que de tan amunt
no puc abastar-la;

Baixa-la si us plau,
mes de branca en branca,
no s’esfloren pas
ses cordes ni caixa.

Posau-la en mon pit,
que puga tocar-la;
si ha perdut lo so,
li tornaré encara:

Si no l’ha perdut,
moriré abraçant-la
la meva Harpa d’or
que el món alegrava!

On the divine Tree
the Harp is hanged.
It is David’s Harp,
cherished in Sion.

Its peg is made of gold,
its strings of silver,
yet, in it,
love is no longer chanted
only seven laments
of grief and longing.

Heaven was opening,
while hell was closing itself
and, to the heart of its God
the Earth is attached.

With a final wail
the day comes to an end,
and stones break themselves
colliding with each other.

Likewise, breaks the heart
of a Virgin Mother
that, hearing those sounds,
cried in the shadow:

- Angels of Heaven,
take the Harp down,
it is hanged so high
that I cannot reach to it;

Please, bring it down for me,
yet careful that, from branch to
branch, its case and strings
don’t get brushed.

Place it on my bosom,
so that I can play it;
in case it lost its sound,
I will give it back:

If it hasn’t lost it,
I will die embracing
my golden Harp
that once rejoiced the world!.


(translated by Salvador Pila)


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