26 July 2018

Poetry Thursday - La Barcheta by Pietro Buratti


La barcheta
La note è bela,
Fa presto, o Nineta,
Andemo in barcheta
I freschi a ciapar!
A Toni g'ho dito
Ch'el felze el ne cava
Per goder sta bava
Che supia dal mar.
Che gusto contarsela
Soleti in laguna,
E al chiaro de luna
Sentirse a vogar!
Ti pol de la ventola
Far senza, o mia cara,
Chè zefiri a gara
Te vol sventolar.
Se gh'è tra de lori
Chi troppo indiscreto
Volesse da pèto
El velo strapar,
No bada a ste frotole,
Soleti za semo
E Toni el so' remo
Lè a tento a menar.
The words are by Pietro Buratti (1772-1832), set to music by Reynaldo Hahn (1875-1947) and published in 1901 as one of the Venetian Songs.

I heard it recently in a concert by the City Chorus, sung by Daniel Turner. Hear it sung by Gerard Souzay here; other versions are available online, for instance the entire song cycle, sung by Joyce DiDonato, starts with a story about Hahn performing it in a gondola, playing a grand piano as he was poled along. A 1909 recording of Hahn - composer, singer, accompanist -  is here.

And now for the English translation (by Laura Sarti):

The Little Boat
The night is beautiful.
Make haste, Nineta,
let us take to our boat
and enjoy the evening breeze.
I have asked Toni
to remove the canopy
so that we can feel the zephyr
blowing in from the sea. Ah!
What bliss it is to exchange sweet nothings
alone on the lagoon
and by moonlight,
to be borne along in our boat!
You can lay aside
your fan, my dear,
for the breezes will vie with each other
to refresh you. Ah!
If among them
there should be one so indiscreet
as to try to lift the veil
shielding your breast,
pay no heed to its nonsense,
for we are all alone
and Toni is much too intnent
on plying his oar. Ah!

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