Throwback Thursday: “Ecco La Primavera,” Francesco Landini

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EVERYONE!  Wonderful news!  We made it!  We made it through the winter!  Today is the first day of spring!  I don’t think I’ve so keenly anticipated the vernal equinox in my entire life.  Imagine how the poor sods who lived through winters in the 14th century felt when it came time for spring.  No wonder this piece is so happy.  

Landini (c. 1325 – 1397) lived through some pretty monumental things.  He survived the Black Death, initial and successive outbreaks of which killed about half the population of Europe.  He survived the so-called Little Ice Age, which made warm summers unpredictable and caused so much rainfall that crops failed.  He survived the Hundred Years War between England and France, lived through the near collapse of the Catholic church as an institution, and the rise of the Ming Dynasty and attendant isolation of China.

Somewhere in there, amidst all that unhappy uncertainty, he wrote this little tune about the return of spring.  I can imagine it might have taken a little bit of faith.

Ecco la primavera,
Che’l cor fa rallegrare,
Temp’è d’annamorare
E star con lieta cera.

Noi vegiam l’aria e’l tempo
Che pur chiam’ allegria
In questo vago tempo
Ogni cosa vagheça.

L’erbe con gran frescheça
E fior’ coprono i prati,
E gli albori adornati
Sono in simil manera.

Ecco la primavera
Che’l cor fa rallegrare
Temp’è d’annamorare
E star con lieta cera.

Spring has come apace
To waken hearts to gladness;
Time for lovers’ madness
And to wear a happy face.

The elements together
Are beckoning to mirth;
In this delightful weather,
Delight pervades the earth.

The grass in fresh rebirth
Helps meadows come a-flower,
And every branch and bower,
Is decked with kindred grace.

Spring has come apace
To waken hearts to gladness;
Time for lovers’ madness
And to wear a happy face.

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