Fermarono i cieli (Alfonso Maria de' Liguori)

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  • CPDL #33988:     
Editor: Francesco Spiga (submitted 2015-01-01).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 306 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Figured bass not realized.
Arranger: Francesco Spiga

General Information

Title: Fermarono i cieli
Alternative title: Maria contempla il SS. Bambinello che dorme
Composer: Alfonso Maria de' Liguori
Lyricist: Alfonso Maria de' Liguori

Number of voices: 3vv   Voicing: SAT
Genre: SacredCarolFolksong   Meter: 66. 66

Language: Italian
Instruments: Basso continuo

First published: 1737 in Canzoncine divote

Description: The text was first published in a 1737 collection called Canzoncine divote under the title Maria contempla il SS. Bambinello che dorme. The suspention of the celestial sphere rotation in the incipit is taken form the Infancy Gospel of James (18;2). Three different traditional melodies are associated to this poem. This one appears to be based, in the stanza, on the same ground bass of the traditional song Pigliate 'na palella (the so-called Tarantella alla carpinese: I-IV-V-I in the minor mode). The refrain comes from oral tradition and do not appear in any published work by st. Alphonsus. The apocryphal stanzas "La luce più bella | Negli occhi brillava | Sul viso sembrava | Divino splendor. || La Madre felice | Di un Bimbo divino | Gridava il suo amore | Cantando così" are frequently sung instead of the original third and fourth ones.

External websites:

Original text and translations

Italian.png Italian text

Fermarono i cieli
La loro armonia,
Cantando Maria
La nanna a Gesù.

Con voce divina
La Vergine bella,
Più vaga che stella,
Diceva così:

[Dormi, dormi, fa' la ninna nanna Gesù.]

Mio Figlio, mio Dio,
Mio caro Tesoro,
Tu dormi, ed io moro
Per tanta beltà.

Dormendo, mio Bene,
Tua Madre non miri,
Ma l'aura che spiri
È fuoco per me.

[Dormi, dormi, fa' la ninna nanna, Gesù.]


English.png English translation

The celestial spheres suspended
Their harmony,
While Mary was singing
Lullaby to Jesus.

With a divine voice
The beautiful Virgin,
More charming than a star,
Said this:

[Sleep, sleep, beddy-byes, Jesus.]

My Son, My God,
My dear Heart,
Thou are sleeping, and I die
For thy beauty.

While thou are asleep, my Love,
Thou do not watch thy Mother,
But the air that thou are breathing
Is like fire to me.

[Sleep, sleep, beddy-byes, Jesus.]

Translation by Francesco Spiga