Quid non ebrietas (Adrian Willaert)

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  • (Posted 2019-01-12)   CPDL #52888:     
Editor: Adrian Wall (submitted 2019-01-12).   Score information: A4, 2 pages, 386 kB   Copyright: Personal
Edition notes: Transposed up a tone. Note values halved. Text underlay is editorial. Bass part reconstructed editorially.

General Information

Title: Quid non ebrietas
Composer: Adrian Willaert
Lyricist: Quintus Horatius Flaccus

Number of voices: 4vv   Voicing: SATB
Genre: SecularMadrigal

Language: Latin
Instruments: A cappella

Published: 1600 in Della imperfettione della moderna musica

Description: The soprano and tenor parts were published without text by Giovanni Maria Artusi in 1600, with the heading Quidnam ebrietas. In 1938, Joseph S Levitan identified the text as an excerpt from one of Horace's Epistles, which takes the form of a dinner invitation to Torquatus, a lawyer. In the source, the tenor appears to end a seventh below the soprano. Implicit modulations allow the second half of the tenor part to be sung a degree lower than notated, thus ending on a consonance. Artusi's publication was the only known source of the piece until the 1950s, when Edward E Lowinsky discovered a partbook containing an alto part; this partbook, although texted, has errors in the text and the underlay does not appear entirely reliable. There is no extant source of the bass part.

External websites: Articles by Joseph S Levitan, Edward E Lowinsky and Roger Wibberley

Original text and translations

Latin.png Latin text

Quid non ebrietas dissignat? Operta recludit,
Spes iubet esse ratas, ad proelia trudit inertem,
Solicitis animis onus eximit, addocet artes.
Fecundi calices quem non fecere disertum?
Contracta quem non in paupertate solutum?
 

English.png English translation

What cannot be achieved through inebriation? It reveals secrets,
bids hopes to be confirmed, thrusts the inactive into battle,
lifts the burden from troubled minds, teaches new skills.
Whom do brimming glasses not make eloquent?
Whom do they not free from the bonds of poverty?