– Aria Virgam Virtutis by Händel

Last weekend I participated as additional choir member during three concerts featuring Fables by Jean de La Fontaine. Marco Kalkman had put Dutch translations of them to music. This is the reason I only wrote this blog this morning, sorry for this.

G.F. Händel
by Denner

I’d like to elaborate a bit on our final aria in our concert on the 14th of April, the “Virgam Virtutis”.I adore singing fast notes and this aria is full of them. In this case not written for flute but deliberately for voice. Originally this piece is sung in a lower key, being written for counter tenor. Gérard has arranged the work for our Trio.

This aria is a part of the “Dixit Dominus”. Dixit Dominus is a psalm setting by George Frideric Handel (catalogued as HWV 232). It uses the Latin text of Psalm 110 (Vulgate 109), which begins with the words Dixit Dominus (“The Lord Said”). The work was completed in April 1707 while Handel was living in Italy. It is Handel’s earliest surviving autograph. The work was written in the baroque style and is scored for five vocal soloists (SSATB), five-part chorus, strings and continuo. It is most likely that the work was first performed on 16 July 1707 in the Church of Santa Maria in Montesanto, under the patronage of the Colonna family. The score was published in 1867. A typical performance lasts a little over 30 minutes (thanks to Wikipedia).

The (biblical) texts are not always easily accessible, judge for yourselves:


Virgam virtutis tuae emittet Dominus ex  Sion:
dominare in medio inimicorum tuorum.

The Lord shall send the rod of thy power out of Sion:
be thou ruler, even in the midst among thine enemies.

I am fond of singing arias. Actually there is not much text and it’s repeated a number of times. There is always a lot of movement in them. They appeal to me. This aria brings up feelings of fun. The music makes me think of joyful things, splashing streams or a waterfall. The syncopes make this piece fun and interesting. Sometimes it is better to not let the text distract you too much …

You’re welcome to come and listen to us in the Saint Nicolas church in La Roche on Sunday 14 April at 16.00 hrs. In the video that announces our concert, you get a small impression of what to expect.

Enjoy the week,

Marijke Persijn

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