for twelve voices (SSSAAATTTBBB) (1974)

5 min.

2 March 1974
Pro Musica; Gordon Brock, conductor
Mills Hall, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, WI

Indovinello Veronese (Late Eighth Century Italian)
Trans. by the composer

Commissioned by the Pro Musica of the Choral Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dedicated to Russell Merritt
on the threshold of the Middle Ages

Biscardi Music Press No. B48-74-1 (available on request)

Boves se pareba
e albo versorio teneba
alba pratalia areba
e negro semen semineba.

There appeared some oxen
held by a white farmer
who was plowing his field at dawn
sowing black seed.
This riddle, representative of the form common to the European popular tradition, was written most likely by a Veronese during the late eighth or early ninth century and is considered to be one of the earliest extant texts in Italian. It most probably refers to the crystallization of the creative process. The oxen driven by the farmer, the field he is ploughing, the plough he guides and the seed he sows represent respectively the fingers of the hand when writing, the paper, the pen and the ink.

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