Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Sinfonia muta

•Charles Shere: Sinfonia muta,
for voice, violin, and percussion; duration ca. 1:30.
Healdsburg: Ear Press, 2015
Full study score, 5.5x8.5, 2 pages
s muta.png

Eastside Road, April 7, 2015—

WE WERE IN MILAN in late November, 2008, having dinner in a trattoria a day or two before flying home — I've looked at my notes, but I can't identify the restaurant.

Doesn't matter: the only thing memorable at the place was the waiter, an engaging fellow, in his fifties I'd say, who eyed me closely, then asked what I did. Pittore? Scrittore? Yes, scrivo un po' , I write a little, I said, and I compose a little music.

I thought it was something of the sort, he said. I'm a poet: and he handed me a little poem printed on a slip of paper. Here's something to make a song, he said:
Sinfonia Muta

il silenzio sta come un orco enorme
pronto ad ingoiarmi
non gli doretta e lo strangolo
col mio canto d'amore per te

I set it aside but glanced at it from time to time during dinner, and with my postprandial grappa sketched out a setting for voice, violin, and percussion on the menu, leaving it behind as a little gift for the waiter.

Here's the translation, as far as I can supply it — there's a word in the fourth line makes no sense to me. "Doretta" may have been my misreading, or it may be dialect…
Mute Symphony

Silence stands, an enormous whale
ready to swallow me up
don't… and I'll strangle it
with the lovesong I've made for you
On returning home I quickly transcribed my sketch at the computer, but the photo has since been mislaid, so I can no longer verify the text…

If you can supply a better translation, leave it as a comment, and I'll send you a print copy of the score.

(A few days later:) As I hoped, my luddite friend Stimato Fabbrò, who does not like to leave comments, sent me another kind of message, clearing up the mystery. In the fourth line two words had been run together: it should read non gli do retta e lo strangolo, meaning "I pay [him] no heed and I'll strangle him…". So the poem translates, roughly,
There's Silence, an enormous whale
ready to swallow me up
he doesn't scare me
i'll strangle him with the lovesong I've made
for you

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