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Posts Tagged ‘Claudio Monteverdi’

GC Myers-  The Pursuit 2021

The Pursuit“- Now at the West End Gallery



So sweet is the torment
That fills my heart
I can gladly live
With her cruel beauty.
In beauty’s heaven
Vanity increases
And pity gets lost;
But always my faith
Will be a rock against
The wave of pride.

Si dolce è’l tormento by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)



So sweet is the torment…

On the surface in the song from Monteverdi whose first verse’s translation is above, Si dolce è’l tormento (So Sweet Is the Torment), you might think that the torment the singer is expressing is from romantic pursuit alone. And it may be.

But I think it expresses the torment that drives any of us in pursuit of those things that we find meaningful. It could be anything, whatever it is that spurs you forward to search further and further. It might be love or knowledge or fame and fortune.

Anything that gives purpose to your pursuit.

Well, maybe anything but happiness. A lot of us say happiness is what we most desire and there’s nothing wrong with that on its face. Who doesn’t want happiness? But happiness is not an endpoint in itself. It is a byproduct of other things– love, acceptance, respect, and contentment for examples. I am sure you can add many other things to this list that create happiness in you.

But seeking happiness itself is a futile effort, one bound to torment you all your days. It would like existing in a frozen world and pursuing only heat when what you  should be seeking is a means to build a fire to produce the desired heat.

I don’t know what the sailor in the painting at the top is pursuing. I expect it is the light that comes from new knowledge and wisdom but that’s just my own projection into the piece. You might see the subject of the pursuit here in your own light.

As it should be.

Here’s beautiful new performance of the aforementioned Monteverdi piece from one of my favorites, Rhiannon Giddens. Good luck in your pursuits this week.



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