Vincenzo Bellini: A te o cara from I puritani for brass octet
The brass version and the unique instrumentation
This version of Vincenzo Bellini: A te o cara from I puritani for brass octet is arranged by Italian trombonist, composer and arranger Pasquale Magnifici. The instrumentation includes a solo trombone, cornet, two tenor trombones, two euphoniums, two bass trombones and a timpani. Despite this unusual instrumentation this arrangement features the true singing voice of the trombone accompanied by a group of warm sounding instruments.
The original version of Vincenzo Bellini: A te o cara
I puritani (The Puritans) is an opera in three acts by Vincenzo Bellini. It was his last opera. Its libretto is by Count Carlo Pepoli, based on Têtes rondes et Cavaliers by Jacques-François Ancelot and Joseph Xavier Saintine. Which is in turn based on Walter Scott’s novel Old Mortality. It was first produced at the Théâtre-Italien in Paris. Upon Rossini’s advice and after the dress rehearsal the opera was changed from two acts to three. The second act ending after the Suoni la tromba duet for the two basses.The premiere, postponed by two days, took place on 24 January 1835.
At the same time, Bellini composed an alternative version intended for the famous Maria Malibran, who was to sing it in Naples. However, this version was not performed on stage until April 10, 1986 at the Teatro Petruzzelli, Bari.
A te, o cara, amor talora
Mi guidò furtivo e in pianto;
Or mi guida a te d’accanto
Tra la gioia e l’esultar.
Al brillar di sì bell’ora,
Se rammento il mio tormento
Si raddoppia il mio contento,
M’è più caro il palpitar.
To you, oh dear one, love at times
lead me furtively and in tears;
now it guides me to your side
in joy and exhultation.
At the radiance of such a beautiful hour
if I renew my torment,
it redoubles my happiness,
’tis more dear the (heart’s) beating.