CONGREGANTE Y FESTERO

(A CHURCHGOER AND A MUSIC DIRECTOR)

 

Using the characteristic idioms of 18th-century speech, which border on slang, Soler has fashioned a small musical play in which the chorus serves both as spectator and as commentator on the actions of the protagonists: the Churchgoer and the Music Director.

The Villancico opens with a short Introduction by the strings, after which the chorus announces that the Christ Child has just been born in Bethlehem and that three masses must be sung to Him without delay. The chorus tells us of a certain Churchgoer who has come to a neighboring parish to bargain with the Music Director over the price of the masses. The protagonists are admonished to bargain  pleasantly and not to haggle, though a little fun is made of the Music Director, who is shrewd enough to bargain for his rights. The chorus comments on the "droll occasion" and expresses the hope that the two men will reach an agreement quickly.

The Churchgoer starts the bargaining by offering three sovereigns to the Music Director, who replies that he'll accept one thousand, and not a sovereign more! The Churchgoer finally agrees to this price and is assured by the Music Director that he will hear something quite marvelous.

This dialogue leads into the Coplas, sung by both protagonists, in which there is a charming melody that skips up and down in a musical pattern. In the fourth and final verse of this, the Churchgoer asks the Director for the Fugue so that he can leave. The Director replies that he may not leave until the fee is paid. There follows a short but brilliant fugue that signals a sealed bargain and the end of the play.

 

INTRODUCTION

CHORUS I

Allegretto

Como ha nacido en Belén                     

un Niño que regocija                          

es tal su virtud que presto                     

se le cantarán tres misas.                         

 

Un congregante devoto                        

de una parroquia vecina                        

fué a ajustar con un festero                     

misa, música y capilla.                         

Now there is born in Bethlehem

a Child of virtue and beauty

who brings all such joy that someone must

at once sing Him three masses.

 

A very pious churchgoer

came from a neighboring parish

to bargain with a composer over

music, choir and chapel.

 

CHORUS I & II

Allegro con spirito

 

Al ajuste, al ajuste.                            

gracioso a mediar,                             

a mediar,                                      

tan rara manía;                                

porque en solfas                               

haber regateos                                 

solamente festeros lo estilan.                   

¡Qué bella especie!                            

¡Cosa f estiva!                                 

¡Pero si llega quien lo codicia!                  

And now, you both must bargain;

so pleasing to mediate,

to mediate at once,

this unusual business;

because in music

to bargain shrewdly

only composers can demand their rights.

"What very strange birds!"

"A droll occasion!"

"If they can only come to an agreement!"

 

CHURCHGOER

 

¿Es usted un festero?                         

Are you good at composing?

 

MUSIC DIRECTOR

 

¡Y metido en capilla!                         

I'm the best you can find, sir!

 

CHURCHGOER

 

Pues amigo, un muchacho ha nacido.            

como hay Dios, que es un Santo a fe mía.        

Y con trinos, con fugas y glorias,               

si me ajusto. Ie llevo su misa.                   

Then, friend, hark, for a Child has been

born.

O my God! O my God! He is Holy, on

my honor.

And your mass filled with trills, fugues

and Glorias,

I will buy if the price is right.

 

CHORUS I & II

 

Al ajuste.                                    

al ajuste,                                        

gracioso a mediar,                              

a mediar,                                     

tan rara manía.

 

Come, let us make the agreement,

a pleasure to mediate,

to mediate,

this unusual business!

 

CHURCHGOER

 

¿Cuantovale?                                  

¿Cuantos hay                                 

que a tres reales                               

las digan?

 

What's the price, sir?

Can one hire a choir

for three sovereigns?

MUSIC DIRECTOR

 

Mil reales,                                     

mil reales cabales.                             

Mas, no se cantan             

con sinfonías;                                 

diciendo al Niño                              

del Amor, empleo:                            

Gloria in excelsis Deo.                          

A thousand sovereigns,

a thousand sovereigns and no more.

But, with no orchestrations,

simply voices;

For when I sing to Love's Child,

I use these words:

Gloria in excelsis Deo.

 

CHORUS I & II

 

Gloria in excelsis Deo.                          

Gloria in excelsis Deo.

 

CHURCHGOER

 

Los mil reales                                   

ofrezco con gusto.                               

A thousand sovereigns

I'll offer with pleasure.

 

MUSIC DIRECTOR

 

Pues cuidado.                                   

que oirá maravillas.                            

Do take care,

for you'll hear

something marvelous.

 

CHORUS I & II

 

Al ajuste.                                   

al ajuste,                             

gracioso a mediar,                              

a mediar,                                      

tan rara manía.

 

Come let us make the agreement,

so pleasing to mediate,

to mediate,

this unusual business!

CHURCHGOER

COPLAS À 2: Allegretto

 

Quisiera yo unos cantos                       

con gorgoritas,                                   

con gorgoritas.                                 

Now I should like my best songs

complete with trills

and with many mordents.

 

MUSIC DIRECTOR

El Niño que nos nace                         

nos los motiva,                                  

nos los motiva.                                   

Pues dando a Dios la gloria.                    

al mundo anuncia el Angel:                   

The Child who's born for us

inspires these motives,

inspires these motives.

And God's Glory is

announced to the world by Angels:

 

CHORUS I & II

 

Et in terra Pax hominibus                       

bo nae voluntatis.                              

Et in terra Pax hominibus

bo nae voluntatis.

 

CHURCHGOER

 

Por los cantos que lloran                        

no tengo prisa,                                 

no tengo prisa.                                 

For singing jeremiads

I'll have time later,

I'll have time later.

 

MUSIC DIRECTOR

 

Todo en tal noche                             

debe ser alegría.                                 

ser alegría.                                         

Mas, si nace el Cordero,                       

dirán los corazones:                            

This night must burst with joy.

All will be exalted,

all will be exalted.

To this Lamb of God who's born,

all our joyful hearts will now say:

 

CHORUS I & II

 

Qui tollis peccata mundi,                         

miserere nobis.                                  

Qui tollis peccata mundi,

miserere nobis.

 

CHURCHGOER

 

Si mi Niño se alegra.                           

será mi dicha,                                 

sera mi dicha.                                  

If my Child is rejoicing,

it makes me happy,

it makes me happy.

 

MUSIC DIRECTOR

 

Reverentes afectos                              

le regocijan,                                    

le regocijan.                                    

Y, aunque a un pesebre yace,                   

es bien que Ie digamos:                       

Our reverent affections

to Him bring pleasure,

to Him bring pleasure.

Tho' my Child lies in a crib

it is good and right we sing now:

 

CHORUS I & II

 

Quoniam tu solus sanctus,                     

tu solus Dominus.                            

Quoniam tu solus sanctus,

tu solus Dominus.

 

CHURCHGOER

 

Quisiera yo una fuga                         

con que me iría,                              

con que me iría.                              

Please give me the fugue now

so that I may leave,

so that I may leave.

 

MUSIC DIRECTOR

 

En soltando el dinero.                          

no hay quien lo impida,                        

no hay quien lo impida.          

Y en Belén ver al Niño,                         

emprende el visitarle.                          

If you give me the money,

no one will stop you,

no one will stop you.

Prepare to go to visit

the Holy Child in Bethlehem.

 

CHORUS I & II

Allegro & Fugue

 

In Gloria Dei Patris, Amen, Amen.              

In Gloria Dei Patris, Amen, Amen.