Thursday, September 16, 2010

Non so più cosa son, cosa faccio

E a parlare 
mi sforza d'amore

Un desio ch'io 
non posso spiegar

E, se non ho chi m'oda,
Parlo d'amor con me.

Lorenzo da Ponte after Beaumarchais
Photograph Hedi Slimane


  1. Grazie tanto, amici miei.

    I wish not to tamper with your delight in what you have seen, and would suggest ignoring what follows. Each of you has taken the occasion for its meaning for yourself. I respect that, and would do nothing to dilute your pleasure. I add this for others who may come another day, who will be welcome.

    All who know it, feel that the aria and the work within which this is a coeval star of so many discrete treasures of theatre and song, are in the blood and heart of Western mankind for all time. They will never give it up, they will never not know joy in hearing it. Yet it is the singular refreshment of these famously “too many notes,” to reach well beyond such judgments. Unless it is “Così fan tutte,” there cannot be a construct relying upon sound which so evades human praise, for its immaculate generosity without discrimination or limitation. We know almost nothing so humane as this in our inheritance.

    This posting is the somberest presentation of these lyrical extracts that one’s readers are likely to have found. It is tailored for everyone, but deferential to the very great compassion of the soul that fashioned this music, by referencing the pressure of silence.

    Every species of romantic love is embraced in this work in general and in this song in particular. The present quotation focuses on a love which is intense and unspeakable at the same time, embedded in a song exuberantly celebrating the height of what it to be expected. Ultimately, then, even if he is alone, his love will thrive in solitude. A consolation to nobody, the composer understands, but a cruelty - as Beaumarchais makes very plain - not always of innocent circumstance. (We shall shortly hear the sentence of Count Almaviva).

    Similarly, the photograph yields itself to many adaptations; from one’s point of view, they would all be steeped in affection. But of the many uses for this picture, who could hesitate to let its subject bear his own affections? This is the revolution, the benison of that song, that it defies, disarms, and dissolves category. This is how this image works.

    "Do you love him?"