EN PIÉLAGOS INMENSOS

(In seas of fathomless depths)

 

In seas of fathomless depths one sees humanity struggling in a storm of death. Only a "propitious star," the Star of Bethlehem, can intervene.

 

With this dramatic imagery, supplemented with processional blasts of trumpets, Soler sets the mood of this Christmas Villancico in the Introduction.

 

In the Estrivillo (refrain), the two choirs, which represent the voices of mankind before the birth of Christ, cry out in despair that the world is sinking, and they call for help and pity. In a turmoil of confused orders and sighs, they exhort the crews to row, and to hoist and lower sails of the allegorical ship. The outstanding choral writing of Soler is exemplified here: One choir sings agitated figures, while the second choir has, mainly, a sustained line. Throughout this section the strings keep up a running pattern.

 

Instead of following the Estrivillo with the usual Coplas, Soler here employs a dramatic cantata form. A Recitative for two sopranos follows in which the singers beseech the Lord to stop the dreadful storm. The storm quelled, they give thanks to Him for listening to their supplications. This leads into an operatically opulent and deeply moving Aria sung by the two sopranos and accompanied by strings with flute obbligato. The sopranos address themselves both to Mankind and to God, a point of some confusion in the text.

 

In the next Recitative, after the Aria, the sopranos alert the shepherds and the Three Kings to go to Bethlehem. There follows a triumphant Marcha that celebrates the victory of their Captain (a symbolic personage who represents the spirit of Mankind now saved by Christ's birth) over the strategy of the Furies (The Devil).

 

CHORUS I & II

Largo

 

En piélagos inmensos
de afanes y de penas,
se ve el linaje humano
correr fatal tormenta,
si no calma su horror
propicia estrella.
¡Ay de aquellos que en golfos
de inquietudes Iloran
su esclavitud y su miseria!

In seas of fathomless depths
of anxieties and afflictions,
one sees humanity suffering
in a death-bringing storm,
unless a propitious star
averts this horror.
Woe to those crying in the gulf
of the deep anxiety of
servitude and sad anguish!
 

Allegro

 

Airados vientos soplan

de vanidad proterva

quo Adán ofreció en loca,

tiranica inobediencia.

¡Al remo! ¡a la escolta!

¡Amaina las velas!

¡Iza! ¡Aferra! ¡Boga!

¡Boga! ¡Amaina! ¡lza!

¡Aferra! ¡Boga! ¡Remo!

¡Amaina las velas!

¡Al remo! ¡a la escolta!

¡Amaina, que el mundo se anega!

¡Piedad, cielo airado!

¡Ay! ¡Ay! ¡Socorro! ¡Clemencia!

¡Ay! ¡Socorro! ¡Clemencia!

La calma dichosa

del cielo descienda

y logren los hombres,

de Dios, las promesas.

Al sol nos enseñe

la aurora risueña

calmando del orbe

tiranas violencias.

¡Al remo! ¡al remo! ¡a la escolta!

¡Amaina las velas!

¡Amaina las velas!

¡lza! ¡Aferra! ¡Boga!

¡Al remo! ¡al remo! ¡a la escolta!

¡Piedad, cielo airado!

¡Ay! ¡Ay! ¡Socorro! ¡Clemencia!

¡lza, que el mundo se anega!

Ah, rushing furious winds blowing

with the perverse vanity

that Adam started with his insane,

cruel disobedience.

To oars now, oh, help us!

And lower the sails!

Hoist and heave and row, men!

Row and strike down!

Hoist! Heave! Row!

Lower the sails!

To oars now, oh, help us!

Come haul down,

for the world is now sinking!

To oars now, oh, save us!

Come haul down,

for the world is now sinking!

Pity, angry heaven!

Ah! Ah! Help and show mercy!

Ah! Help and show mercy!

Beatific calmness

descends from the heaven

and obtains for mankind

the Lord's solemn promise.

O smiling aurora,

show us once more our sun,

and calm the tyrannical violence

on earth.

To oars now, oh, save us!

And lower the sails!

Hoist and heave and row, men!

Hoist! Heave! Row, crew!

Pity, angry heaven!

Ah! Ah! Help and show mercy!

Hoist, for the world is now sinking!

 

SOPRANOS I & II

Recitative

 

¡Piedad!                                     

¡Y pues la paz anuncia el cielo,                 

cese la guerra que nos da desvelo!                

¡Clemencia!                                

¡Que ya, amante y generoso,            

a aliviarnos desciende el Poderoso!              

¡Ay! ¡Que apenas su amor venir intenta.

de aire y nieve. Ie asalta otra tormenta!          

Si fuego su amor es en tal quebranto            

no apagará la nieve incendio tanto.          

¡Oh, favor, pues con tal calma,                

¡Oh, prodigio, pues con tal calma.               

duice serenidad espera al alma!                  

O Lord,

if heaven will announce the peace now,

the war will stop then, for it gives no respite!

Have mercy!

O Beloved so unsparing, come to help us,

descend with all Thy power.

Ah! As soon as His love sets out to find us,

wind and snow come to assault Him

with another wild storm!

If fiery is His love in our peril,

all snows could not extinguish this flame

so burning.

Oh, what grace, for with such calmness,

gentle serenity awaits our souls!

Oh, a wonder, for with such calmness,

gentle serenity awaits our souls!

 

Aria: Largo

 

Ya, Dueño enamorado.                         

llegó el feliz sosiego                            

de nuestro error cruel,                

Ya el hombre, a tí postrado.         

enmendará lo ciego                             

de un corazón infiel.                             

¡Lecho infeliz te aguarda, traidor:               

te espera el hielo!                              

Que sólo tu fineza, sí,        

calmará la fiereza                              

de tanta tempestad.                             

Mas, nada te acobarda. 

Su injuria es su Consuelo,                      

que sólo tu fineza, sí, 

calmará la fiereza                                   

de tanta tempestad.                            

Ya, Dueño enamorado.                         

llegó el feliz sosiego   

de nuestro error cruel,             

Ya el hombre, a tí postrado.                     

enmendará, Señor, lo ciego                     

de un corazón infiel                            

que sólo tu fineza                               

calmará la fiereza                              

de tanta tempestad.                            

Now, my beloved Master,

at last blessed repose

comes to these cruel sinners.

Now mankind prostrates itself

before Thee to cure the blindness

of its unfaithful hearts.

Bed of sorrows will await you, oh, traitor:

the ice awaits you!

For only Thou with Thy gentleness

can becalm the ferocity and raging

of all storms.

But, nothing can affright Thee.

His offense is his consolation,

for only Thou with Thy gentleness

can becalm the ferocity and raging

of all storms.

Now, my beloved Master,

at last the blessed repose

comes to our cruel sins.

Now mankind prostrates itself,

for Thee to cure, Senor, the blindness

of hearts untrue,

for only Thou with Thy gentleness

can becalm the ferocity and raging

of all storms.

 

Recitative

 

Pastores a Belén, alerta, alerta,                  

que esta noche nuestra dicha es cierta.             

Monarcas del Oriente, ¡ved qué bella!            

¡Nuestro nuncio ha de ser brillante estrella!      

A adorarle, partid.                                

Venid contentos,                              

que a marchar tocan ya los instrumentos.        

O shepherds, come to Bethlehem, wake up,

come quickly,

for this night happiness is certain!
O Monarchs of the Orient, see how lovely.

Our messenger is a star so brilliant!

Let us go to adore Him.

Let us go together,

for the instruments already play the march.

 

CHORUS I & II

SOPRANOS I & II

Marcha

 

¡Magestades, a triunfar!                        

¡Pastores, a resistir!                              

¡Que suenan en el confin                      

golpes en el timbal,                            

ecos en el clarín,                                  

marcial rumor!                                   

¡Ecos en el clarín!                               

¡Marcial rumor!                                 

¡Seguid, seguid vuestro Capitán,                

pues que viene a combatir                       

de las Furias el ardid                           

con su estandarte real!                         

¡Hoy precipitar hará                           

el imperio de un traidor!                        

¡Seguid, seguid vuestro Capitán,                

pues que viene a combatir                      

el imperio de un traidor!                        

Go to Triumph, ye Monarchs three !

Go shepherds to resist!

For we hear thunderous

drums beating on the horizon,

echoing clear the clarions,

martial clangor!

Echoing clear the clarions!

Martial clangor!

Oh, follow, follow your Captain,

because He is going to combat the

devilish strategy of the Furies

with His Royal Standard!

For today He will destroy

the dominion of a traitor!

Oh, follow, follow your Captain,

because He is going to combat

devilish tactics of the Furies

with His Royal Standard!

For today He will destroy

the dominion of a traitor