Works

Dopo la vittoria

Piccola cantata

1996 / 1998

Scored for

mixed choir (SATB) a cappella

Duration

12 min

Short description

Dopo la vittoria – piccola cantata or “the little cantata” – was composed for mixed choir a capella in 1996 and revised in 1998. The piece was commissioned in 1997 by Sandro Boccardi on behalf of the City of Milan to celebrate 1,600 years since the death of St. Ambrose, Archbishop and patron saint of Milan.

The text for Dopo la vittoria is a description of the scene that inspired the creation of Te Deum: St. Augustine’s baptism by St. Ambrose, while jointly singing an ode to God. The text originates from the encyclopaedia The History of Church Singers and Songs (Исторический обзор песнопевцев и песнопения греческой церкви) compiled by Archbishop Filaret and published in 1902 in St. Petersburg. Keeping in mind the c…

Dopo la vittoria – piccola cantata or “the little cantata” – was composed for mixed choir a capella in 1996 and revised in 1998. The piece was commissioned in 1997 by Sandro Boccardi on behalf of the City of Milan to celebrate 1,600 years since the death of St. Ambrose, Archbishop and patron saint of Milan.

The text for Dopo la vittoria is a description of the scene that inspired the creation of Te Deum: St. Augustine’s baptism by St. Ambrose, while jointly singing an ode to God. The text originates from the encyclopaedia The History of Church Singers and Songs (Исторический обзор песнопевцев и песнопения греческой церкви) compiled by Archbishop Filaret and published in 1902 in St. Petersburg. Keeping in mind the commissioner, the original text in Russian has been translated into Italian.

Arvo Pärt: “The description charmed me and I quickly made my decision – I wanted to create music for this text specifically, based on how it was written in the encyclopaedia. I used the text without changing anything in it. The wording and phrasing from 1902 sounded like a poem in prose to me.”

What made the scene exceptional to the composer was that as the baptism of Augustine progresses, Ambrose starts singing his Te Deum and Augustine spontaneously joins him, continuing the song as if he had known it for a long time. They sing Te Deum to the end as an antiphon. The composer recalls: “I was enraptured by the scene with two great figures of Western culture and Christianity, full of spontaneous joy and inspiration, I was deeply under its influence.”

The cantata is characterised by its narrative nature. The first rows (“St. Ambrose created this ceremonial hymn after the complete victory over the Arians …”) are performed by the choir in a recitative staccato, so as to pass on the emotional events. The original phrase from the Te Deum in Latin is embedded in the musical narrative: Te Deum laudamus – “We praise you, Lord”.

With its drama, contrasting characters, dynamics and changes in tempo, the composition differs from many of Pärt’s thoroughly contemplative works in tintinnabuli style.

Dopo la vittoria has three dedications – to Sandro Boccardi, the poet and Director of the Music Department at the Cultural Center of Milan, the conductor Tõnu Kaljuste and the Swedish Radio Choir. It was premiered by the Swedish Radio Choir, conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste at the concert of Arvo Pärt’s works, Sette pezzi sacri (Seven Holy Works) in the Basilica of San Simpliciano in Milan on 6 December 1997.

World premiere

06.12.1997
Basilica of San Simpliciano, Milan, Italy

Composer's recital: Arvo Pärt. Sette pezzi sacri

Swedish Radio Choir, Tõnu Kaljuste

Completion year

1996

Revision year

1998

Dedication

to Sandro Boccardi, Tõnu Kaljuste and the Swedish Radio Choir

Commissioned by

The city of Milan in commemoration of the 1600th anniversary of the death of Saint Ambrose, 1997

Scored for

mixed choir (SATB) a cappella

Duration

12 min

Publishers

Universal Edition

Language

Italian

Vocal text

Dictionary "History of Church Singers and Chants" by Archbishop Philaret, published 1902 in St. Petersburg.

Dopo la vittoria definitiva sugli Ariani, Sant’ Ambrogio compose un inno solenne di ringraziamento:
“Te Deum laudamus”;
da allora questo canto viene ripetuto in occasione di cerimonie solenni di ringraziamento.
Trascorsi due anni, quando davanti al consesso dei potenti di Milano venne battezzato Agostino, quelle strofe di ringraziamento furono cantate dagli officianti e dai battezzati e quindi entrarono a far parte da quel momento del cerimoniale religioso.
L’antico e ignoto biografo di Agostino scrive:
“Sant’ Ambrogio allora con voce lieta lodò la Santissima Trinità e indusse lo stesso Agostino a proclamare la sua fede nella gloria di Dio.”
Lodando e ringraziando il Signore Sant’ Ambrogio diceva:
“Lodiamo Te, o Signore, in Te crediamo, o Signore.”
Agostino proseguiva:
“A Te, Padre Eterno, tutta la terr…
Dictionary "History of Church Singers and Chants" by Archbishop Philaret, published 1902 in St. Petersburg.

Dopo la vittoria definitiva sugli Ariani, Sant’ Ambrogio compose un inno solenne di ringraziamento:
“Te Deum laudamus”;
da allora questo canto viene ripetuto in occasione di cerimonie solenni di ringraziamento.
Trascorsi due anni, quando davanti al consesso dei potenti di Milano venne battezzato Agostino, quelle strofe di ringraziamento furono cantate dagli officianti e dai battezzati e quindi entrarono a far parte da quel momento del cerimoniale religioso.
L’antico e ignoto biografo di Agostino scrive:
“Sant’ Ambrogio allora con voce lieta lodò la Santissima Trinità e indusse lo stesso Agostino a proclamare la sua fede nella gloria di Dio.”
Lodando e ringraziando il Signore Sant’ Ambrogio diceva:
“Lodiamo Te, o Signore, in Te crediamo, o Signore.”
Agostino proseguiva:
“A Te, Padre Eterno, tutta la terra rende gloria.”
“A Te cantano gli angeli e tutte le potenze dei cieli.”
Così entrambi cantarono l’intero inno di gloria alla Santissima Trinità. Sant’ Ambrogio diceva il primo verso e Agostino cantava quello seguente. L’ultimo verso venne proclamato da Agostino:
“In Te, o Signore, ho posto la mia speranza e mai dovrò dolermene. Amen.”
... da allora questo canto viene ripetuto in occasione di cerimonie solenni di ringraziamento.


After the complete victory over the Arians Saint Ambrose created the solemn praise:
“We praise you, Lord.”
This hymn is being performed until today on every festive Thanksgiving and Praising of the Lord.
It was two years later when all faithful were assembled in Milan to witness the baptism of Saint Augustine, that this hymn of Praise was sung to the Baptised and Baptising and from this time on formed part of the great body of church chants.
An unknown early biographer of Augustine writes:
“On the occasion of Augustine’s conversion the blessed Ambrose praised the Holy Trinity with joyful singing and encouraged Augustine to confess his faith in honour of God.”
Ambrose blessed and praised the Lord and said:
“We praise you, my Lord, we confess in you, O Lord.”
Augustine added:
“You, Eternal Father, the whole world praises.”
“All angels, heavens and powers (in Heaven) praise you forever.”
Thus, in constant interplay, they sang the Hymn in honour of the Holy Trinity. Ambrose sang the first verse, Augustine the next. And Ambrose concluded the last verse thus: “In you, my Lord, I set my hope, so that I will be eternally saved. Amen.”

The Arvo Pärt Centre will be closed on Thursday, October 17.

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