DE UN MAESTRO DE CAPILLA

(FROM THE MAESTRO OF THE CHAPEL)


In this Christmas Villancico we find an amusing little play. The Maestro, depicted as a very fearsome teacher who threatens the children of the choir with a whipping if they don't learn their solfege (perhaps a self-portrait7), enters the scene after the choir states that, as usual, the Villancico they are to sing for their Christmas festival has not been prepared. Though they fear him as they would Nero, they provoke the Maestro more and more with naughty exclamations and pranks. Of special intererst in this Villancico are the tempo changes that occur at each entrance of the Maestro and choir.

The Maestro has the boys sing some charming five-part canons in solfege that are also used as an exercise for them in canonic singing. The humor of the opening gives way to a serious text in the Recitative that leads into the two- verse Tonadilla. This "little song" is noteworthy for the typical Mannheim style of the accompaniment figures in the strings; and after the second verse is sung by the second soprano, this graceful Villancico ends with still another change of tempo and style.

 

CHORUS

Andantino

 

Como no es nuevo esta noche                   
el que estén los villancicos,                       
aún despues de muy mascados,                 
poco o nada digeridos,                           
a estudiar uno al portal                        
se vienen los cantorcillos                        
para que el Niño los libre                      
del maestro y de sus gritos.                      
¡Atención,                                    
que lo extraño del Villancico,                     
acredita lo raro de su capricho!                  

This isn't the first time that a night like this
brings us the Villancicos,
after long and arduous chewing,
part, or not at all, digested.
The little singers come now
to enter the room to study.
They want the Child to free them
from the Maestro and his shouting.
Attention,
to the singular Villancico,
that shows rare inspiration!

 

MAESTRO

Allegretto

 

¡Ea, muchachos! ¡Estad alerta!                  
¡Que ya es hora de dar lección!                    
Vamos aprisa                                
todos entrando.                  
que está en un punto                          
mi estimación.                                  

Come, now, my children! Please pay
attention!
Because it's time now for your class to begin!
Come, now, at once
and each make his entrance;
my reputation is at stake.

 

CHORUS

 

¡Qué buena maula                            
es el maestro!                             
¡Sólo procura                                 
por su opinión!                               
¡Y con nosotros.                                
en los solfeos,                                   
hace el oficio                                 
de tundidor!                                  

Oh, what an egoist
is the Maestro!
He only looks out for
his own prestige!
And in our classes,
when we sing solfege,,
our bottoms serve as drums
for his strong hands!

 

Allegro

 

Buena es la idea,                                
raro el capricho.                                 
¡Siga y prosiga                                 
la diversión!                                    
Vaya de solfa                                  
porque es precise                               
que al bello Infante                              
divierta el son.                                 
—¿Oyes, Juanillo?                            
—¿Qué es eso conmigo?                       
—¡Hoy viene el maestro                      
de buen humor!                               
—¡Sólo de verle                              
todo me hielo,                                
porque Ie temo                               
como a Nerón!                               

A good idea,
this inspiration.
We must continue
our solfege class!
And if we're beaten
as drums are beaten,
and the sound pleases the
beautiful Prince,
ready are we, ready are we.
—Listen, Juanillo!
—Do tell me what's wrong now?
—The Maestro comes today
in good humor!
—I only look at him
and I'm frozen;
I fear him more than
Nero himself!

 

MAESTRO

 

¡Cómo se burlan                               
los picarillos                                   
haciendo, vaya,                              
su presunción!                               
¡Voto a mis barbas                           
que, si me enfado,                            
la Nochebuena                              
será Pasión!                                 

These little rascals
joke about me;
it is outrageous
how they behave!
I swear by my beard,
let them get me angry;
the Christmas
will be a Passion!

 

CHORUS

 

A estas barbazas                              
las tengo miedo.                              
¡algameCristo!                             
¡Qué largas son!                              

That very long beard
fills me with great fear.
O Jesus! help me!
How long it is!

 

MAESTRO

 

¡Como se burlan                                
los picarillos                                   
haciendo, vaya,                               
mi pretensi6n!                                
¡Vengan apriesa                              
los cantorcillos!                               
Y si no, i arriba                               
el camis6n!                                    

These little rascals
joke about me;
it is outrageous
how they behave!
Come quickly now,
my young singers,
or I'll see that your robes
are raised up at once!

 

CHORUS

 

¡Ay, de nosotros!                             
¡Que mascarón!                                
¡Muy destemplada                           
tienelavoz!                                    

Oh, do have pity!
Frightening face!
Oh, what discordant sounds
in his voice!

 

MAESTRO

 

Ya tienen miedo                                 
los tiplecillos,                                  
que, con trabajo,                               
les toqué yo.                                   

Now they're afraid,
my tiny sopranos,
for I have played
drumsticks on them.

 

CHORUS

 

Buena es la idea,                                
raro el capricho.                                
¡Siga y prosiga                                 
la diversión!                                   
Vaya de solfa                                   
porque es precise                               
que al bello Infante                             
divierta el son.                                 

A good idea,
this inspiration.
We must continue
our solfege class!
And if we're beaten
as drums are beaten,
and the sound pleases the
beautiful Prince,
ready are we, ready are we.

 

MAESTRO & CHORUS

Allegro

 

El siervo infame                               
no es razón                      
que mejor sea                                  
que su señor.                                 
¡Ea, muchachos!                              
¡Vaya, por Dios!                              
Fa, la, fa, sol, re ...                            
(Hablando) Rezad o decid conmigo:             
(Cantando) Fa, la, fa, sol, re ...                  

There is no reason
why a lowly slave
should live much better
than his Senor.
Come, now, my children,
let's go, by God!
Fa, la, fa, sol, re ...
(Speaking) Recite or say with me:
(Singing) Fa, la, fa, sol, re ...

(Whenever they wish to stop, all say together:
"Bravo, Bravo!" This is to  indicate that the children,
some before the others, during the singing applaud
and cry "Bravo," interrupting the music, laughing and
joking, which causes the Maestro to become angry.)

 

MAESTRO

Recitative

 

¡Jueguen y enreden bien los rapazuelos.          
que una zurra ha de haber, viven los cielos!      
¡Y no he de ser en daros nada escaso            
si no sabeis entrar aqueste paso!                 

Urchins, you can play wildly all you care to,
but a whipping shall come,
so help me heaven!
And I will not be miserly with beatings
if you cannot sing well the proper tempo!

 

MAESTRO & CHORUS

Canon á 5

 

Mi, mi, fa, fa, mi, re, mi, mi ...                  

Mi, mi, fa, fa, mi, re, mi, mi ...

(Once again, when the chorus wishes, interrupts
the canon with "Bravos" and applause.)

 

MAESTRO

Recitative

 

Mas, ¿qué miro, infelice criatura?                 
¡Válgame Dios! ¡Qué nube tan obscura            
de lejos se descubre!                           
¡Ya todo el mundo                             
de pavor se cubre!                             

But, look here now, we're poor unfortunate
creatures.
Oh, help me. Lord! What cloud appears so
darkly upon the far horizon!
See, all the people cower with terror!

 

MAESTRO & CHORUS

Andantino

 

Al fin, mis esperanzas fueron vanas:   

         
¡Ay que tocan a nublo las companas!            


Din . . . din . . . din . . . din . . .                    
¡Tente, nublo,                                 
que al río viene turbio!                          
¡Tente, detente.                                
que asustas a la gente!                           

Now all my greatest hopes
are lost forever:
Woe! The bells strike loudly to announce
thunder, lightning!
Din . . . din . . . din . . . din . . .
Stop, stop storm,
for you make the rivers muddy!
Halt, halt at once,
for you frighten all the people!

Allegro

 

¡Tente, nublado.                              
no vengas al poblado!                         
De las fiestas de enero.                        
San Hilario es el primero . . .                    
Amén, amén . . .                                
¡No te metas en Belén!                         
¡Tente, varón.                                
que primero es San Antón!                     
Din, don . . . Din, don . . .                       

Stop, gathering storm clouds,
and don't invade our village!
Of the Saint's days of January,
Hilary's the first one.
Amen, amen,
do please stay away from Bethlehem!
Stop, fearful storm,
a command by San Anton!
Din, don . . . Din, don . . .

 

CHORUS

Andante

 

Vamos y al Niño                               
le pediremos                                 
que de la nube libres                          
quedemos.                                   

Let's go and pray now
to the Child Jesus,
that from the cloud of darkness
He will free us.

 

SOPRANO SOLO

TONADILLA

 

1.—No quieras, Niño querido,                  
pues vienes a remediarme,                     
en la tormenta perezca,                        
que sólo para vengarse.                        
el enemigo movió,                            
el enemigo movió.
 

2.—Amante dueño gracioso,                    
no quieras desampararme,                    
ni dejes que mi contrario                       
intente vanagloriarse                           
que la victoria alcanzó,                          
que la victoria alcanzó.                         
    Ya que amoroso                               
    te estoy mirando                               
    por mí llorando,                               
    por mí llorando,                               
    cante yo alegre                                
    triunfos de amor,                              
    triunfos de amor.                              

1.—Do not allow me to perish
in this storm, my dearest Infant,
for Thou art born for my salvation.
It is only for vengeance
that this dread foe does oppress me.

 

2.—0 Child of Love, oh, so gracious,
do not desert me in my loneliness;
do not allow my enemy
to proclaim vaingloriously
with false pride
that he is victorious.
    Now that I see Thee
    with all my true love,
    weeping now for me,
    weeping now for me,
    I shall sing joyful
    triumphs of love,
    triumphs of love.