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Quartet originally for Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass with basso continuo.
Original Language: Italian
Donzella Atenese sforzata dal re di Tracia.

Quel misero Usignuolo
Spiega la pompa de’ canori accenti,
E racconta il suo duolo
Al fonte, al prato, alla foresta, ai venti.
Piange l’ingiurie Filomena e i torti
D’un Trace ingannatore,
E non canta d’amore,
Ma con l’irata lingua
Ricorda al Ciel che i traditori estingua.
Chi credería che voce
Cara e soave tanto
Muovan gli sdegni al canto?
Noi pur, o belle avare,
Allor ch’al nostro ossequioso affetto
Son le mercedi rare,
Più di rabbia cantiam che per diletto.

Giulio Strozzi

The Nightingale

Athenian maiden raped by the king of Thrace.

That unhappy nightingale
voices the glory of song,
telling of its suffering to the streams,
the meadows, the forest, the winds.
Philomena laments her injuries and the wrongs committed on her by a deceitful Thracean,
not singing of love
but with wrathful voice
calls upon Heaven to exterminate traitors.
Who would think that a voice
so sweet and pleasing
would be inspired to sing by anger?
We too, o avaricious beauties,
while the rewards for our gentle
affections are few,
we sing more from vexation than from delight.

Translated by:

Richard Kolb

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Cover of L'Usignuolo


Published by Cor Donato Editions in historically correct modern transcription, including critical introductory notes on the work, editorial procedures, original Italian texts with new English translations, and other contextual information about the piece.

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Find recordings...

  • Barbara Strozzi: Il Primo de Madrigali

    Orlando di Lasso Ensemble

    Thorofon Records (2000) [Audio CD, Digital / MP3]

    • Disc #2 / Track #7 - L'Usignuolo (SATB, lirone, chitarrone, hps, org) [3:55]
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  • Barbara Strozzi: Virtuosissima Compositrice

    Cappella Mediterranea, Leonardo García Alarcón

    Ambronay (2009) [Audio CD, Digital / MP3]

    • L'usignuolo - Quel misero usignolo, Op 1 (SATB, bc) [4:23]
  • Primo Libro de' Madrigali

    La Venexiana

    Cantus (2000) [Audio CD, Digital / MP3]

    • L'usignolo - Quel misero usignolo, Op 1 (SATB, bc) [3:45]