Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saint Cecilia's Day

Saint Cecilia by Carlo Saraceni

I know the feast day is transferred (if anyone still observes it; there's no evidence that Cecilia could even whistle a tune, let alone play and sing), but I want to take the opportunity to salute all the musicians out there.

Here is the conclusion of Handel's great Ode to Saint Cecilia identifying music with the harmony of the cosmos.

Here is another salute by Handel to Saint Cecilia from his Italian cantatas, a less grand, but I think truer statement about the passions that generate art:

Here are the words:


Most worthy of praise is fair virtue,
and she merits acclamation for herself alone;
and yet greater does she become
in virtuous love.


Only amid innocent embraces,
and harmonious strains,
does the heart rejoice.

Intense affection,
and true delight
alone deserve praise.

Ella Fitzgerald needs no translation:

But, The Velvet Underground gets translated in Spanish anyway:

A happy feast to all musicians out there!