FOR THE CURIOUS CELLIST

Verdi: “Tace la Notte” from Il Trovatore

From Verdi‘s opera “Il Trovatore”, the title of this aria translates to something like “the night goes silent”. In fact, in this transcription our night is transformed in quite the opposite way: while we start off in a very still, silent, dreamy night, we soon jump straight into the sparkling Allegro which, in the opera, comes after the dramatic main aria (which we here don’t actually play). In fact, naming this transcription “Tace la Notte” is a little like inviting friends to a barbecue but serving only entrée and dessert. Hopefully, one day the dramatic central aria will be added to the middle of this transcription, making it into a six-minute, three-movement, complete musical meal, rather than the two-minute (but delicious) snack that it is now.

Surprisingly, even though the Allegro (that constitutes the second part of our aria) sounds like a charming animated Italian party, the singer’s words tell a completely different story:

With such love that words can scarcely tell,
a love that only I know,
my heart is intoxicated.
My fate can be fulfilled only at his side.
If I can’t live for him ……. then I’ll die for him!

Perhaps these dark thaughts explains the use of four flats in the key signature. In any case, the cellistic complications created by those four flats mean that the “Easier Version” offered here is transposed down a semitone into the easier key of G major because there is just no way to make this aria “easy” with those four flats. In the new key of G major we can now use all our open strings, mid-string harmonics etc, which makes everything considerably easier for our left-hand and it is for this reason we have also made a “Performance Version” of this aria in this lower key. So in fact we can consider that there are three levels of difficulty available here: while the “Easy Version” stays in the Neck Region almost always (which requires some changes to the melodic line), the “Edited Performance Version” in G major keeps all the original intervals but is still somewhat easier than the original-key version because of the increased comfort that comes from the transposition into G major.

The play-along piano audio accompaniments are computer-generated (from the music notation program). Nowhere near as good as a real live pianist …. but certainly better than nothing. Instead of the fermata on the first beat of bar 31 we have added two beats, played by the piano as up-beats to the new “a tempo” unison entry. Without these aural cues it would be very difficult to synchronise that entry with our recorded accompaniment. This converts bar 31 into a 6/4 bar:

tace fermata bar

We might want to play the dotted figures of the Allegro “à l’italiana” which means that the short notes are played later (and therefore shorter) than notated. This gives a very crisp, sparkling, “al dente” feel and is very appropriate in a lot of lively italian music. This is the way the play-along accompaniment has been recorded. See the discussion about double-dotting.

tace double dotted

Here then are the downloadable sheet-music versions, as well as the audio play-along accompaniments in both keys.

ORIGINAL KEY (Ab major)

Edited Performance Version      Clean Performance Version          Piano Score

Audio Download

 

TRANSPOSED DOWN A SEMITONE (G major)

Edited Performance Version     Clean Performance Version      Easiest Version    Piano Score

Audio Download