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G 11.009 CoverGeorge Frideric Handel (1685–1759)
Mi palpita il cor
HWV 132 c/d

Cantata for alto voice (mezzo-soprano), (transverse) flute (voice flute) and basso continuo
Edited by Franz Müller-Busch
Realization of the thorough bass by Eckhart Kuper

Girolamo G 11.009, score and 4 parts, € 22,00
ISMN 979-0-50084-037-4

sample page

G 11.008 G 11.010





George Frideric Handel (1685–1759) wrote at least three versions of the cantata to the text Mi palpita il cor. These were composed during the first years after he had established himself in England some time between 1710 and 1713. The musical material of the different versions corresponds only in parts.

The information found in sources appears to be rather complex. In the Händel Werke Verzeichnis (HWV) only four versions of the cantata are recorded (a-d) although at least six versions of the complete cantata as well as single arias exist. The various copies also show considerable differences and embellishments of which the origin is partly not known.

The autographs by Handel belonging to the cantata serve as a draft for this edition. They are kept in the British Library London under the shelf marks R.M.20.g.8. (HWV 132 c, complete cantata) and R.M.20.e.4. (HWV 132 d, 1st aria only).

One can conclude from the various copies that the two first arias entitled Ho tanti affani in petto are of equal significance and can both be used during the course of the cantata. Hence both versions have been enclosed in this edition.

The edition has been kept close to the two autographs as far as this could be justified with regard to practical use. Other versions and copies from another hand have also been consulted and taken into consideration. Some obviously missing accidentals have been added and errors corrected (see footnotes in the score). Any further additions not deriving from the manuscript designated as the original source have been indicated as such. The Italian text has been very slightly adapted to customary spelling and punctuation marks have been added.

In the autograph the traverso is given a solo part. When playing the cantata on a recorder, it is advisable to play on a voice flute, a recorder in d. This corresponds to the customary manner of playing during the late baroque era which was particularly common in England. For players not accustomed to transposing, an extra part has been enclosed that can be played with treble fingerings.

Translation: Julia Whybrow

Freiburg, July 2003, Franz Müller-Busch


Arioso e Recitativo:
Mi palpita il cor,
né intendo perché,
agitata è l’alma mia,
né so cos’è.
Tormento e gelosia,
sdegno, affanno e dolore
da me che pretendete?
Se mi volete amante, amante son;
ma, oh Dio, non m’uccidete,
che il cor fra tante pene
più soffrire non può le sue catene.

Ho tanti affanni in petto,
che qual sia il più tiranno
io dir no’l so.
So ben che do ricetto
a un aspro e crudo affanno
e che morendo vo’.

Clori, di te mi lagno;
e di te, o nume,
figlio di Citerea,
ch’il cor feristi
per una che non sa
che cosa è amore,
ma se d’egual’ saetta
a lei feristi il core,
più lagnarmi non voglio;
e riverente inanti al simulacro tuo
prostrato a terra, umil, devoto
adorerò quel Dio,
che fe’ contento e pago
il mio desio.

S’un dí m’adora la mia crudele,
contento allor’ il cor sarà.
Che sia dolore, che sia tormento
questo mio seno più non saprà.

Arioso e Recitativo:
I feel my heart beating
for reasons I do not know,
I feel my soul in turmoil
but ask myself for what.
Anguish and jealousy,
fury, grief and pain,
what is it you demand?
If you want me to love, I will be loving:
but, oh God, do not kill me,
since my aching heart
no longer can abide its chains.

My worries are so plentiful
that I can no longer discern,
which of them are worst.
I sense that in me
dwells a cruel and bitter pain,
and that I will die.

Clori, I complain about you
and also about you, oh God,
son of Cythereia1),
you, who have wounded my heart,
for another, who is ignorant
of love;
yet, should you strike her heart
with that same arrow,
then I shall complain no more;
and bowing in front of your image
kneeling on the floor, humble and faithful,
I will worship the god,
that has filled me with joy
and rewarded my yearning.

If my cruel beloved should ever take to loving me,
then my heart will be blithe.
And my soul will know no longer
the dread of pain and anguish.

Translation: Julia Whybrow

1) Cythereia is also known as Aphrodite (Greek)
or Venus (Roman). Her son is Eros (Greek)
or Amor or Cupido (Roman).