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Pietà Signore (ca 1660)

Arr. for Woodwind Choir (2019)

Duration: 9'

Original by Alessandro Stradella

View Score

Pietà Signore or Aria di Chiesa is a church aria from the middle baroque whose music setting is most often attributed to Alessandro Stradella. The author of the text is unknown, though as with most religious texts of the period, themes of repentance and forgiveness are pervasive throughout.

Original Italian

Pietà, Signore, di me dolente!

Signor, pietà, se a te giunge il mio pregar;

non mi puniscail tuo rigor, meno severi,

clementi ognora, volgi i tuoi sguardisopra di me.


Non fia mai che nell'inferno sia dannato,

nel fuoco eterno dal tuo rigor.


Gran Dio, giammai sia dannato

nel fuoco eterno dal tuo rigor,

Pietà, Signore,

Signor, pietà di me dolente,

se a te giunge il mio pregare,

Meno severi, clementi ognora,

volgi i tuoi sguardi, deh! volgi squardi su me, Signor,

Pietà, Signore, di me dolente.

English Translation

Have mercy, Lord, on me in my suffering!

Lord, have mercy, if my prayer reaches you;

may your severity not punish me,

always forgiving eyes direct upon me.


Do not allow me in hell,

to be damned in eternal flames by your severity.


Almighty God, never allow me to be damned

in the eternal flames by your severity,

Have mercy, Lord,

Lord, have mercy on me in my suffering,

if my prayer reaches to you,

Less harshly, always forgiving,

eyes upon me, ah! direct your eyes on me, Lord,

Have mercy, Lord, on me in my suffering.

(Translation courtesy of Anna Pavan)

This arrangement for woodwind choir passes melodic material around to every single section, culminating in the dramatic statement by the saxophone quartet in four-voice baroque harmony just prior to the coda, which fades away to the same hushed tone from which the piece began. This arrangement was commissioned by Ms. Sarah Wilson, and received its premiere on 10/06/2019 at her graduate conducting recital at Truman State University.

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