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About "Canzonetta" from Don Giovanni

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Title Composer Description View or Listen Date Posted
Canzonetta from Don Giovanni Mozart Voice, mandolin, and guitar
Don Giovanni's seduction song from Act 2 of Don Giovanni.  Arranged by Tom Potter
mus  pdf-score  mid  mp3  xml  about
Parts (pdfs): voice  mandolin  guitar
2014-10-05
Canzonetta from Don Giovanni Mozart Mandolin, cello, and guitar
Same as above, except cello substitutes for voice.  Arranged by Tom Potter
pdf-score  mid  mp3  about
Parts (pdfs): cello  mandolin  guitar
2014-09-28
Canzonetta from Don Giovanni Mozart Flute, violin, cello, and piano
Arranged by Tom Potter. 
pdf-score  mid  mp3  about
Parts (pdfs): flute  violin  cello  piano
2014-09-28
Canzonetta from Don Giovanni Mozart Flute, cello, and guitar
Flute takes the mandolin part, cello takes the voice part. 
pdf-score  mid  mp3  about
Parts (pdfs): flute  cello  guitar
2014-09-28
Canzonetta from Don Giovanni Mozart Flute, cello, and piano
Same as above, except piano substitutes for guitar. 
pdf-score  mid  mp3  about 
Parts pdfs): flute  cello  piano
2014-09-28

Title: "Canzonetta" from Don Giovanni

Composer: W. A. Mozart (1756–1791)

Lyricist: Lorenzo Da Ponte (1749–1838)

History

Mozart's opera Don Giovanni, with libretto in Italian by Lorenzo Do Ponte, premiered in Prague on October 29, 1787.  The story concerns a fictional Spanish nobleman, Don Juan (in Italian, Don Giovanni), who devotes his life to the conquest of as many women as possible.  If anybody gets hurt, it is of no concern to him, for he is 100 percent amoral.

The "Canzonetta" (meaning, "little popular song or ditty") is an aria sung by Don Giovanni in Act 2, Scene 1 of the opera.  Don Giovanni has disguised himself as his servant, Leporello, and he stands beneath the window of a pretty maidservant in Donna Elvira's house.  Meanwhile, Leporello, wearing the Don's clothes, is distracting Donna Elvira, a woman who long ago succumbed to Don Giovanni's advances and who retains a vain hope that he will return to her someday. 

Under the maid's window, Don Giovanni serenades the unseen girl on his mandolin, while singing a love song (i.e., the "Canzonetta").  His aims are thwarted by the sudden arrival of a band of armed villagers, including Masetto, a young peasant whose wife Zerlina was almost seduced by Don Giovanni on the day of her wedding with Masetto.  The armed men are looking for the Don; but he, still wearing Leporello's clothes, tricks them and pretends to join in their search; when he gets the chance, he beats up Masetto, takes away his weapon, and runs away laughing.

 

Text

 

"Deh vieni alla finestra"
Words by Lorenzo Do Ponte


"Come to thy window"
English version freely adapted by Tom Potter from 19th-century translations in the public domain

1

Deh vieni alla finestra, o mio tesoro,
Deh vieni a consolar il pianto mio!
Se neghi à me di dar qualche ristoro,
Davanti agli occhi tuoi morir vogl' io.

 

Oh, open thy window, dearest; thyself one moment reveal;
Oh, if my pray'r thou hearest, come console my tears.
Canst thou my ceaseless sighing, with cold indif'rence greet?
Ah! wouldst thou see me despairing, dying at thy feet?
2

Tu ch' hai la bocca dolce più ch' il mele,
Tu ch' il zucchero porti in mezzo al core,
Non esser, gioja mio, con me crudele;
Lasciati almen veder, mio bell' amore.

 

Yes, thou whose lips are sweeter, sweeter than honey,
Thou, whose heart is steeped in virtue ever so pure.
Oh, be not then, oh be not cruel and heartless to me
Let me for a moment see my own fair love.

 

 

Translation donated to the public domain, Tom Potter, 2014

 

About the arrangements

The Canzonetta is scored originally for baritone voice, mandolin, and string orchestra.  A simple "oom-pah-pah" guitar part or piano part can replace the string orchestra.  Cello substitutes nicely for voice, and flute for mandolin.  In the arrangement for flute, violin, cello, and piano, I take some of the voice part away from the cello and give it to the violin. 

Throughout, I've retained Mozart's delightful harmonization; in addition to standard triads, we find some surprising 6th, 7th, and diminished chords.

There are two distinct cello parts; some of the arrangements use one cello part, and some use the other cello part.  No arrangement uses both cello parts.

I use a single Finale music file to produce the various downloads (see above for links to the downloads).

Ways of combining the parts for reading or performance:

There are several possible ensembles, the principal ones being:

  1. Voice, mandolin, and guitar
  2. Cello, mandolin, and guitar
  3. Flute, violin, cello, and piano
  4. Any part not mentioned in the above ensembles may be added to it.  This will create redundancy.  For example, you could add flute to ensemble 1 (voice, mandolin, and guitar); however, the flute will play the same notes as the mandolin.

References:

Mozart's opera Don Giovanni: containing the Italian text with an English translation and the music of all the principal airs (Google eBook), by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Lorenzo Da Ponte, Boston, O. Ditson, 1859. [My source for the Italian lyric, and also used to construct my version of the English lyric.]

The Operatic Library. No. XXIX. Don Giovanni. Don Juan [libretto in Italian and English], M. DOUGLAS, No. 11 SPRUCE STREET, NEW YORK, 1850. In Google Books.  [My other source for the English lyric.]

Mozart, Don Giovanni, complete score, Leipzig: F.E.C. Leuckart, n.d.[1868]. Plate F.E.C.L. 2027; in IMSLP.ORG.  [My source for the mandolin and baritone parts.]

Mozart, Don Giovanni, vocal score, Paris: Marquerie Frères, n.d.[1838]. In IMSLP.ORG.  [I created the guitar part by adapting the piano reduction in this vocal score.]

"Don Giovanni", Wikipedia article.

—Tom Potter

   April 25, 2014

 

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