Last night the Boston Choral Collective, led by Thomas Stumpf, began to rehearse my choral work 'O Miei Dolci Animali,' a setting (in Italian) of the Salvatore Quasimodo poem. They did quite well with the chromatic, rather lush harmonies, and it was wonderful to hear the piece begin to come to life.
Here is a literal translation of 'O miei dolci animali'
from The Penguin Book of Italian Verse, 1958
Now autumn spoils the green of hills, o my sweet animals.
We shall hear again, before nightfall,
the final lament of the birds, the call of the grey plain
that goes towards that high noise of the sea.
And the smell of the wood in the rain,
the smell of the burrows, how keen it is
here between the houses, among men,
o my sweet animals.
This face that slowly turns its eyes about,
this hand that marks the heavens
where a peal of thunder resounds, are yours,
o my wolves, my foxes burnt with blood.
Every hand, every face is yours.
You tell me everything has been in vain,
life, the days worn away by a steady flow of water,
while from the garden rises a singing of children.
Perhaps far from us now?
But they yield in the air like shadows, if as much.
But perhaps I know everything has not been.
What does it mean? People ask me, and I find it difficult to put an answer into words.
The music of my setting is my answer.