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G 11.016 CoverThomas Augustine Arne (1710–1778)
– The woodlark whistles
Pietro Filippo Scarlatti (1679–1750)
– Pianga pure al duol

Two Arias for soprano (tenor) voice, sopranino recorder,
2 violins (violin, viola) and basso continuo
Edited by Peter Thalheimer

Girolamo G 11.017, score and 5 parts, € 22,00
ISMN 979-0-50084-086-2

sample page score

sample page soprano part

G 11.016 G 12.001


In operas and cantatas of the Baroque period, the recorder is often used to represent the emotions of love and pain, or to imitate natural phenomena such as waves and birdsong. This edition introduces two interesting examples of this genre and makes them available for use in practice. Although the two arias contrast in style, they require basically the same instruments. The sound of both works is dominated by a high recorder part.

Thomas Augustine Arne (1710–1778) was born and died in London. He studied violin with Michael Christian Festing (1705–1752), who also instructed him in harmony and counterpoint. Charles Burney (1726–1814), one of Arne’s pupils, describes the composer’s style as a pleasant mixture of Italian, English and Scottish elements. Arne’s legacy includes songs, cantatas and instrumental music, but above all, numerous works for the stage that were performed with great success at various venues in London and Dublin.

The aria entitled “The woodlark whistles” is from Arne’s opera “Eliza”, which is based on a libretto by Richard Rolt (1724–1770). This work was first performed at London’s Haymarket Theatre on 29 May 1754. In the following year, the opera was staged in Dublin, and in 1758 again in London, this time at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane. The title role was sung by Arne’s pupil Charlotte Brent (roughly 1735–1802).

The part written for “Little Flute solo” is mainly an imitation of the lark’s song. It is intended for sopranino recorder, as are the parts composed by Arne in other works for “Octave Flute”, “Small Flute” or “Flauto piccolo”. – The wavy line noted in bar 14 is used as a sign to indicate a rhythmic breath vibrato, similar to the tremolo in the Early Baroque period and the bow vibrato of string instruments.

Pietro Filippo Scarlatti (1679–1750) was born in Rome and trained as a musician by his father Ales-sandro Scarlatti (1660–1725). From 1705 to 1708, Pietro Filippo was Kapellmeister at Urbino Cathedral. In 1712, he was appointed successor to the organist and opera composer Giuseppe Vignola (1662–1712) in Naples.

The cantata “Humanità e Lucifero” was composed in 1704 for the Collegio Nazareno in Rome, an institute for education and studies run by the Piarist Order. Here, cantatas by the most famous of Roman composers were performed annually in honour of the “Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary”. Scarlatti’s cantata was performed again in 1719 and 1725. A manuscript of the work has survived until today in the library of the Collegio Nazareno. However, the cantata is sometimes attributed to Alessandro Scarlatti, because a later copy of the score is marked “del Aless[andr]o Scarlatti 1706”. The author of the libretto is unknown.

Lucifero’s aria “Pianga pure al duol” is taken from this cantata. The orchestral accompaniment is unusually transparent. The bass line is mainly in the high register and without added chords. The melody is characterised by representations of the emotion of pain or imitations of waves. – The “Flautino” part requires only a small range between b flat1 and e flat3 and can be performed on either a g2 flageolet or a sopranino recorder – similar to the Flautino parts written by Alessandro Scarlatti.

My thanks go to the libraries listed in the editor’s report for permission to publish.

Translation: Catherine Taylor

Schwäbisch Hall, March 2023, Peter Thalheimer


Thomas Augustine Arne
The woodlark whistles

The woodlark whistles through the grove,
tuning the sweetest notes of love,
to please his female on the spray.

Perch’d by his side, her little breast,
swells with a lover’s joy confest,
to hear and to reward the lay.

Pietro Filippo Scarlatti
Pianga pure al duol

Pianga pure al duol ch’io sento
l’aria, il vento
or con flebil mormorio.

E di Stige il lido e l’onda
deh! risponda
anche al suon del pianto mio.

May the air and the wind
now cry in faint whispers
over the pain I feel.

And may the shores and the waves
of the Styx, alas!
also respond to the sound of my weeping.