Saturday, 13 June 2020


My choir's latest virtual rehearsal was based on what is known in England as "The chorus of the Hebrew slaves" (so much better as the Coro di Schiavi Ebrei, as our copy had it...
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I think, though my knowledge of Italian is based om a course I did in 1992. the modern Italian would have degli in place of di. This would be yet another example of archaism in the 19th century text, like those I noted here
In his text for Va pensiero, Verdi (or his librettist if he had one ...? 
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Yes he did – the splendidly named Temistocle Solera
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...) does not use dove, in
Ove olezzano tepide e molli 
L'aure dolci del suolo natal

The ove shows that at one stage some Italic dialects followed the French path, without an initial d
Earlier in the same post I had written:
The word for 'where' has a chequered history in the Romance Languages. Simply put (which is all I'm up to) it is derived from UBI [='where'] or UNDE [='where from'], with or without an initial DE. So French  comes from UBI, Italian dove comes from DE + UBI and Spanish is 'etymologically pleonastic' when it asks 'Where are you from?'; '¿De dónde eres?' starts with DE DE UNDE, meaning 'from[from[from where]]]'.
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Catalan is like Castilian in its preference for derivation from UNDE, but without the pleonastic d: it uses plain on. So, far from adding a d at the beginning of the word, it drops one from the end.)
And what in modern Italian would be aire is aure (reminiscent, to me, of the two possible forms in Portuguese of the word derived from CAUSA(M): Fr. chose, Italian and Spanish cosa, but Portuguese [modern Continental Portuguese, that is] either coisa or cousa  – to be filed under Interesting but irrelevant I suspect). 
As Metternich...
"needs citation", to use Wikipedia's passive-aggressive  gibe, but my history teacher used to say it, and what's good enough for Mr Crosby is good enough for me
...said at the time 'Italy is a geographical expression'. The name VERDI was a coded feature of political graffiti, standing for Vittorio Emanuele Rei D'Italia. (And, now I think of it, the Hebrew Slaves have an allegorical relevance: the people of that geographical expression had been "enslaved" for centuries by various imperial powers.)

Covid Chronicles 

The rehearsal (like most things these days: I wonder what's happened to the share price) was done over Zoom. For my madrigals group I use a tablet, which can put  nine thumbnails on one screen; it's a small group, so two screens is the most it runs to. But with the choir – with more than forty (60 or 70 on a good day) – I prefer to revert to my desktop PC, which runs to 2/3 screensful.

But it has no integrated camera. I've found a very old webcam, which I can't get to work. The PC itself is old enough (it runs Windows 7, no longer supported by Microsoft [and this old post sums up  my feelings about computer support:
She...[MrsK] asked a passing school-leaver [in PC World] if there were any known support issues with application software (I'm paraphrasing here, you understand) and the answer was, surprisingly enough, that everything was hotsy-totsy with Windows 8. 
Well, twenty years of working with software engineers (actually, 19¾ – HP took the penny-pinching precaution of shafting me 3 months before they would have had to fork out for a 20-year award) has taught me that if anything can go wrong with new software it will. This was true of Windows 95, and with everything since. Working in 'Support', which I did for many years, involved me almost daily in fixes and workarounds and you-just-can't-do-that-any-more when people tried to get existing application software to play nice with a new operating system.
]), but the webcam pre-dates even that – the user guide doesn't mention Windows 7 (only its predecessors Windows 2000 and Windows XP).

So my participation in the rehearsals is haunted by a photo of me (taken, now I think of it, when I was using Windows XP). The picture is in a file called mugshot.bmp, which gives an idea of its lugubriousness.

Tha'sall. Time I showed my face in the Real World.


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