DIDO AND AENEAS
Scenario for a Studio Drama Performance
THE PREFACE should be read first before working with this script, since is has a broad range of concepts which precede working with the script as performance.
ORGANIZATION OF THE COMMENTARY
The comments with numbered sections for each paragraph of the text, embrace, in this order:
TEXT: Poetic innuendoes, interpretation of the passage. for the reader of the spoken part. If not in quotes, the reader is "The Narrator" (for which see the directions in the Preface). If in quotes, use the voice of a reader for that section.
READING: Comments for reading of the passage, notes for the reader of the spoken part. If passage is not in quotes, the reader is "The Narrator" (for which see the directions in the Preface). If in quotes, use the voice of a reader for that section.
SOUND: Suggestions for a music score, for sound effects, and the background SOUND-script..
The text of the Translation follows in BOLD face. By default this will be the Voice of the narrator. If in quotes it is a passage for a different reader-voice.
The Drama Starts : SHIPS AND THE SEA
Musical Introduction and Mixed Assembly Sounds
Five minutes music soft and light reverb as in the distance. Woodwinds and tympani as instruments which have ancient association, brass in short sections as military associated, but only natural trumpet (Roman 4 ft. is the idea to keep in mind).
Decrease music volume, introduce sound of many voices in a mixed background speaking a mixed language, some rising above others, slowly quieting as if awaiting a bardic chant. Before the text begins, some strums on a guitar in fourths, as if inviting the chant, strum off beat with first five lines, then disappearing into a background weak ambiance.
Section 1, line 1 ff.
TEXT: The first line is a significant change from the traditional "Arms and the man I sing". Vergil is at the tail end of the bardic tradition, but a trace of it should show through, especially as we are now aware of Bardic Poetry. "Juno the Cruel" and later "Aeneas the Good" give a touch of the titling of medieval royalty, putting back color of adjectives which have become meaningless ("savage" and far worse "pious"). These ten lines must show a dynamic/rhythmic growth --- with the growth of Rome from a primitive town of huts to --- ROME.
READING: Pauses after each line are important for the epic effect, the bardic chant. Start with a "bardic effect" to be held for four lines if possible, but no stop after line 1 with the word "first" since it can go both ways in meaning, then with 5) slide into the (..) aside with focus of Juno in disbelief..). Line 6- 10, start soft and slow, grow progressively and all point to line l0) which has to be done with grandeur and national pride, thinking of Rome through the centuries, but that added word "OUR" swings back to a Roman point of view intentionally. Then a significant Pause.
SOUND: After the musical prelude, mixed sounds of people gathering against a drone of folk-instruments tuning up, start the text with a few scordatura guitar strums going with key words in the first four lines, the bardic touch. ----For line 8-10) a far distant, reverb effect fanfare of mixed brass and woodwinds, muted trumpets on end of line 10).
Let me chant ARMIES and that HEROIC MAN first
Section 2, line 8 ff.
TEXT: In the original Latin the "Muse" is invoked a la Homeric mode, but I see so little relevance in this word that I have substituted what Pindar says for the muse (philon hetor = dear heart), thus evoking the muse out of himself. So here it fits, perhaps don't stress since it surprises by itself. ---Reason/treason must be done lightly, the rhyme will come out by itself. --- By 13) we are reaching for a note of disbelief, opposing SHE and he. That "wheel of mis-fortune" is pointed translation but new wording, fresh and catches the ear.
READING: Line 16) is hard written since is says abruptly in four words: "to heavenly gods such angers?", an incipient atheism, incredulity.....that must come out and it must be sharp, brief. Done and staccato pause!
In reading don't dwell on O My Heart, which has been made stronger than O Muse, which was almost meaningless, it is a personal "aside". This all grows in sound and slows, leading to that critical focus line 16), in Latin only four words.......sheer disbelief! Space around line 16) but cautiously.
SOUND: This section can have a lyre-like soft plucking of strings, getting more insistent through line 15), and then stopping completely with the bare and brutal line 16)
Bring to mind, O My Heart, what reason, what treason
Section 3, line 12 ff.
TEXT: Now we completely change tone (splitting the lines, dry and abrupt, where I have inserted a slash) and switch to a Baedeker like description of a city over somewhere.... But to the Roman it was the ultimate enemy, and when the name Carthage comes in there is an immediate national repulsion.
On the other hand (see Preface note on this) Vergil seems to have a strange fascination with this foreign city, its lovely Lady Dido, its Near Eastern quality of richness and luxury. (See the section of the Preface for a discussion of Vergil and his relationship to Carthage and the Carthaginians.)
I suggest a gentle and ruminative tone for the first words (Of old...........city), then pause with Carthage, then catch the double meaning mentally of "against" (geographically) ------ "against" (the Punic Wars). Now we are ready to harden the voice with line three of this passage, move into standard Roman fear/hate of Carthage with its manufacturing of war-equipment, iron foundries etc.
READING: CARTHAGE must have a little space around it, "over against" is not only across the Mediterranean Sea, but opposed in the terrible Hannibalic invasion of Italy.......and on and on. Line 20) refers to the high industrial level of Carthage from the middle east where its roots were, iron-trade is better than weapons.
At the point there is an abrupt change of pace, the lines split consciously at the center, giving a factual set of short phrases, as if exploring an area never heard of (Punic Wars! ! !) with caution. The slashes show the breaks......These lines are dry and paced out with thoughtful attention.
SOUND: A low barely audible rumble of ambient "noise" can grow to be clearly heard by the "iron trade" line ending as a factory sound.. Then stop completely.
Of old there was a city, | the people came from Tyre,
Section 4, line 15 ff.
TEXT: At 21) we leave the town and turn with a tone of divine inspiration to JUNO the great goddess's preference, her place, her people, and in 25) it is Empire and the words harden with the ancient threat to Rome. Line 26) (could Fate be brought to agree!) I have put it as a pregnant aside, quick and light BUT --- what insolence, just persuade the Supreme Court and it will be OK! Dangerous woman!. On 27)...her cherished scheme comes out, but slyly, the way high powers then as now do their smooth business.
READING: Now the reading becomes intense, this "lovely place" where Juno (unlovely indeed) had her heart set on building her Empire. Imagine the center of the Empire at Carthage, controlling trade from Phoenician homeland through Spain (to become fact with the Moslem armies after 800 AD). Read with HER breathless anticipation perhaps.........
SOUND: Perhaps flute and oboe doing a pas a deux very lightly in the air to surround the magic of this holy spot. At end a two note "sputter" a la Stravinsky to point to the tightness of her thought, her reiterating scheme.
It was a spot where Juno, it was said,
Section 5, line 20 ff.
TEXT: I must note that the mixed metaphor of "blood and seed" is not in the original, but it gets attention and can be worked in carefully. I like this touch actually from Conington. --- Line 29) summarizes the terrible Punic Wars, but line 30) and 31) point to the growing Roman domination of the Mediterranean basin, but 32) starts with the utter eradication of Carthage (Karthago delenda est "must be destroyed"). Then......"So turns the wheel..." very calmly, breaking the line into a) hate. and b) resignation, with a nice effect leading to a good, thoughtful pause.
READING: Think of the Punic Wars, Hannibal 20 years razing Italy, and then the armies going back to Africa and wiping it clean of Carthage at last. After "desolation" a pause before the rest of the line, again a turning wheel as above......Fate!. --------Here again in reading a growth of seed growing to power to bringing power and armies into action and "Carthage Must Be Destroyed!"........the ideas growing in these give lines from seed-bed to wasteland.
SOUND: Any sound which denotes expansiveness, enlargement, leading to conflict, war and desolation ------ this must be done lightly so as to avoid interfering with the read text.........
But she had heard the blood of Troy was sowing seed
Section 6, line 23 ff.
TEXT: Here we start calmly off, but are picking up a few touches from Juno's memory ----- that WAR.. Parallel Antietam and Gettysburg "our brave men in blue/gray" with her Argives or Greeks. Then with the bracket start a packed series of increasing agitations, getting more and more frantic, agitated.....even "gay" Jove coming up in her hysterical recollections. End bracket and we now proceed to the exact opposite view, the poor men, refugees, kept from home, (the holocaust survivors kept OUT of Palestine) pathetic wording and tone required. But in the line 47) with its sense of evolution of OUR Roman World, "nothing great comes without great cost" : a moral reflection coupled with national pride.
READING: The section in brackets must be done as a "tirade", one long growing flow of stream of evil consciousness, done as a dramatic show-piece. Then at lower level the results focused on these refugees wandering the seas for years........
SOUND: With the bracketed tirade from 35) on, fast moving intertwining strings, a whining and vibrating background texture, at first far away but gradually growing with her anger ------break to silence at 42) which should be bare and focused on the words themselves. ----- After 47) a muted fanfare as if dreamily confronting the great future of ROME., giving pause and change of scene to the following sea-scene.
With these fears in her mind, || and with a lively memory
So vast the cost it was to build the realm of Rome.
Section 7, line 34 ff.
TEXT: Again as with introduction of Carthage, we do a fast switch to a sea scene, the wording about sea-joy comes right out of Homer's "rejoicing, the men set oars to sea..." an literary allusion which no Roman would miss any more than for us the familiar "to be or not....". This is a light technique of conscious "allusion", a nod to the past. But there are only three lines for this sailing surge of openness of spirit, then we are back to Juno.
READING: The reader wants to get, somehow, a feeling of joy and the cleanness of sea air, the smell of the salt spray as ships move out with the wind, the sailors' joy at seaward bound......all this must be done with a joy in the voice, but then---immediately contrasting with line 51)....
SOUND: A background sound of sea surf and the swell of wave on the shore is a natural effect here, even the shear of water on the prow of their ships. If any music score is to be inserted here it must be light and probably more a figure than a melody fragment, an ostinato matching the sea sound effect.
Scarce out of sight of the land of Sicily now, see
Section 8, line 30 ff.
TEXT: We start with Juno examining her own role, comparing herself with Venus, who actually won the Trojan War, and then she narrows it down to crazy Ajax. Line 55) again shows her contempt for the Fates, the ultimate justice of this world, something the orderly Romans would have felt uneasy about. "Is it JUST the Fates... that are in my way?"
I put in the word "schizo" on purpose since she sees Ajax clearly in that state, sitting depressed in his tent, rushing outside with sword in hand slaughtering a flock of sheep screaming " Fucking Greeks!" The word "schizo" may seem strange here, but the use of it is most appropriate, and nicely startling if you consider.
READING: From 59) to 63) Juno goes mad herself, projecting a sea scene which she is here remembering....but planning too as below. I put in "guts" on purpose under Agrippa's Law (discussed elsewhere. use of common words right along with poetic diction., which Agrippa criticized as "tasteless". I think we must inject some guts here and there, Vergil knew what he was doing. -----Impaled on a rock, she focuses down to the point of a hard place in her anger.
Starting slowly with inner thoughts ranking her mind, she plays the role of SELF PITY until she runs again Fate in line 55), confusing the hierarchy of world-power completely. "Just because of Fate...?" said in disbelief. Then ENVY enters, Athena's success in her will, but immediately a "disaster at sea" as forecasting another she will soon put into effect. So this is lower key now, as seen at a distance, a vignette for the one she does later.
SOUND: There is a whirring, gradually growing quality to this speech, which may be backgrounded with a string/high woodwind "vibrato ostinato", starting low pitched and quiet, proceeding with he same figure increasing in speed and amplitude, and becoming a static wail at the end of line 63). This must be experimented with after the voice reading is done to see that this fits acoustically without interference.
...when Juno, the everlasting wound still rankling in her heart
Section 9, line 46 ff.
TEXT: Now with quiet and a sense of injured dignity.........."walk" (incessus) was important to Romans as the gait of civilized people, no idle mention here. There is a Roman stride, and Gods stride even more. n Line 64) 65) stress the dignity and position of June ----Then the next two lines show a piqued, almost childish whine about taking away her perks, deserted temples, honor lost.
READING: Tone must be "wounded ego", perhaps use some intonation of the spoiled child's complaint about not having her own way. This is all the more effective since a Goddess is using this frame of mind and such words........"nobody will ever come over to play with me! "
SOUND: Now 2 clarinets in low register can do a "walking figure" for the first two lines of this section, then moving up imply a whiny quality which goes with the meaning of 66-67)
While I, who walk the sky as its queen, wife-sister too
Section 10, line 50 ff.
TEXT: Now we begin the Aeolus and Wind episode: I have spaced out Aeolia on purpose (A E O L I A) a very strange word with six letters and only one consonant, and that a liquid (l).like Hawaiian words with their vowel sequences! Line 71) to 76) introduce the jail-motif, a mixture of rocks and cliffs against the water, with bars and chains as in a Roman prison scene. ----- At end of 76) we see the "King" sitting above, aloof, playing the royal role in complete aplomb through 78). But then we reverse it (what if?)....why, the whole thing would go wild and uncontrolled, through 81) we get a foretaste of what is to happen in capsulated form.
READING: Something windlike and vocalic can be done with that word Aeolia, I can hear it almost spelled out with four or five open-mouthed wind sounds. It is all sound and fury, but heavily suppressed and trying to break loose until line 74) where a second motif appears: Chains and jail. But again at 79) the wild fury (in imagination) breaks loose again. So there are three tones in this passage: Winds and fury -----Jail and restraint ---- (Winds and fury).
SOUND: Here taped incipient storm-sound can be used as a lower level background from 68) throughout, but add to this loud storm gale and over this some instrumental music, disjointed, pulsating, with tympana at off-beat intervals. From 79) to the end of this passage we need a continual upsweep as if the winds were broom- ---- sweeping everything out through the open door of the universe.
With such thoughts sweeping through the solitude
Section 11, line 60 ff.
TEXT: But now we see the reality of Jove's ordered realms, the wild winds' fury is completely under control. JOVE has it all in charge, he knows the world-calamity which could come, and has taken steps. The winds start off with FEAR (yes, Jove fears too!) and then piled mountains which should do it to keep them, down.
BUT at 85) we have the social part of his administrative arrangements, the contract with Aeolus, which is all done in perfectly proper Roman legal terms: A King who knows by his contract when to a) tighten up, or b) release force. BUT this is all under the condition "upon command", better in the original "iussus" 'ordered'. There is the hitch, it is all dependent on his getting his orders straight, Roman imperial practice where all authority comes from the Emperor, the way the imperial rule governed the provinces.------- I have added Warden to keep the jail image together.
READING: There are two tone-sections to this paragraph: 1) Dark and deep, mountain piled up, caverns buried in 82-84), virtually the geologic volcanic history of the Mediterranean world. But then 2) starting at 85) we go into legal procedure, the conditions under which a governor operates, modeled of course on the Roman system of administration. So this must sound administrative, contractual, the terms of office although done swiftly.
But then Juno's line 88) suddenly sugars the situation over in honeyed
terms. It has in Latin six -s- sounds, this must be read with serpentine
slyness, the line is sneakily sly, and leads right to the name AEOLUS at
89) which can be sung out with a charmingly suggestive female voice.
Imitate the Latin:
SOUND: Ponderous mighty chording for the seriousness, the imperial "gravitas" of God's MIND contemplating the scene, his prior action piling weights to control (line 82-64). But then a judicial, administrative ponderousness as he set forth before his order, his Responsum about the administration of the wind-world.
But in the middle of the heavy roar before 87), we have a complete reversion of sound, as slick, sly, suppliant Juno begins a feline address to the Lord of the Winds
But the Almighty Sire had buried them, dark and deep
Section 12, line 65 ff.
TEXT: Already in line 86) above it was mentioned the tightening of control OR when ordered, letting it loose a bit. Now Juno reiterates the terms of the formal contract, but she focuses only on the rein-loosening, as preface to her wild suggestion of storm at 91) with a flashing hint of the massive threats of the sea.
READING: This must be read with the full rage of the "tirade" which had been foreshadowed above (Athena passage), and although short, it must be orchestrated with a full range of vocal instrumentation. With line 91 as the line-splits, she starts off with a deceptively quiet view of some boats on the sea, some people I dislike, quiet and calm. But at 93) it escalated to something wrong with their operation, something unholy, and all of a sudden at 94) it all goes crazy with a mad scream: Winds......ships sinking.......winds roaring all over.......floating bodies. ----- But suddenly, as if catching herself, she stops on the instant, pauses and proceeds to something entirely different
SOUND: Starting with honeyed intonation at 89), proceeding to power and role at 90), Juno dashes into a preview of wind on the sea and a fleet destroyed. Sea--sounds and storm are good background here with a strong crescendo, but above this must be a "voice", perhaps two flutes playing half tone apart, moving in concert with the word patternings of Juno's speech
AEOLUS!... ||... for it is to thee that the Sire of Gods
Section 13, line 71 ff.
TEXT: The BRIBE is part of Roman politics, transposed here into the epic world. But what is interesting is the number of Ladies, like the Grimm Brother fairy tale tone, the magic number---- 14 = 7 x 2, (compare Matthew's numbers 7 x 3 at the beginning, the planets and seven days of the non-Roman astrological week). But Juno has a Roman mind and knows a bribe has to be watertight: "I will call her your very own (property!), in "wedlock", and no divorce possible". Then inserted right in the middle is a phrase cited from Roman formal language "for such great services to the state". ----But she continues with the clinching part of the bribe, SEX, never mentioned as such, but only with those lovely children you will be having. She lingers on this last line 100) because it says much without saying it right out.
READING: The tone of this passage is sly, insinuating, lovely cloaked bribery. But the motif is out of the Fairy Tale World. I think of Schubert's slyness in Goethe's Erlkoenig where the riding father is so approached: "I have lovely ladies on the strand....".Goethe knew his Vergil well. ----- Note her formal use of "thy/thee" suits her regal manner even when speaking down to a jail-master, she bribes him with her tone and also her wording as well as the bribe, so these words can get a very slight accent.
SOUND: It would seem overly humorous to cite the Erlkoenig's beckoning to the sick boy here, but something in that vein might be usable. The music section must be lovely, sinuously engaging, perhaps only a tone of discord here and there marking the interior motive. The 14 lovely ladies does give the key!
Twice seven nymphs are of my train, surpassing fair;
Section 14, line 76 ff.
TEXT: Now the BRIBE is being picked up, exactly what she wanted, exactly what he wants, but everything is in a different key. She uses the formal "thee" as a goddess should, but we have him answering with "you", disrespectful and too often repeated. He is all humble submission, with a Dickensian Uriah Heep false humility, but his ego grows and bloats as the passage develops.
First 101-103) starts out with the bow to power, echoes in time reaching down to Eichmann "taking orders" from the Fuehrer. But he wrongly validates this with two words "fas est", which I cannot get rightly into English (fas is "right" but for religious, divine things, ius is "right" for people and the law. He is a stupid man and got the wrong word!) -----so we have to do this with style and intonation.
Now at 104) we see the growing of his little man's pride, note how "this kingdom, whatever there is of it..." is set against "you are as my agent" (Lat. conciliare is 'be an agent' this is a commercial, contractual word, so he is wrong again). We escalate to God's smile, the banquet couch, and my title: "Lord of the...". But of course from the above, it was Jove who made him this. He has everything wrong, a model of a stupid minor Roman official whom Vergil must have seen often enough in his early days as law clerk.
READING: Tone is humble groveling, must be of a mean and very little man, talking up to a great lord. Line 103) is critical because is shows his stupidity in making a fatal mistake --- "right and just" is wrong and a bad error. This must not be lost in the reading -----Then it is all smiles and thanks and rubbing his hands together in delight, again an error (.you.......my...........agent indeed!). ----The original closing line for 107 blows up like a balloon with only four, long words, incidentally with 14 syllables! This must be blustered out, growing like a bubble until it is about to burst.
SOUND: This is all spoken in broken phrases, short burst of nervous, twitchy humbleness, marked here with the slash. Musical phrases can follow but not match exactly of course. But something special has to be done with 107), tympana, a muted fanfare of trumpets, but with minor thirds where major intervals are expected.......praise to the King, but something is wrong!
Aeolus returns "Yours, great | Queen, is but the task
Section 15, line 81 ff.
TEXT: Now to we proceed to real ACTION at sea, the expanded version of what was mentioned before in Juno's mental sea-scape, but done up with full visual and sound effects. In 110) we have them lining up like revolting slaves-rebellion, busting out of jail, the Cataline conspiracy calling out danger in every Roman's mind. By 114) we have the name-identities of the individual winds, reminding us of the Roman's poor navigational skills, sticking too close to shore and getting wrecked on the rocks. At 116) we focus in on the ships, the squeaks of stretched cables mixed with screams of men.
Now all goes dark. Now thunder and ---lightening in the dark over the black sea, and 121) we focus in close again and see the faces of men on foundering ships with DEATH on their faces --- just for a second before they disappear swallowed up by the sea. (The film Titanic occurred just at the right time to sensitize our audiences to the sea.)
READING: No need to tell a professional actor how to run this scene......It is all at highest pitch, the only problem would be variegation within this roaring area, finding some small ups-and-down inside the paragraph.
SOUND: Nor need to outline exact sounds. We have sea-sounds, crashes, hurricane velocity winds first. The add to this crew screaming and ships falling apart, after which at 120) thunder and lightening (121). It is a question of how much effects are available and how to use them tastefully. Could there be music score in front of this...?
AND SO...||....soon as this was said, he turned his spear,
Section 16, line 92 ff.
TEXT: Now follows a complex section, we have Aeneas shocked and shaken by the above scene with a highly dramatic set of poetisms, to balance which I put in "stomach" as a coarse word (actually Horace I 6 uses it for "anger" right beside Achilles, in the "Agrippa contention", a lot of crossed threads. I wanted a gut word, grace a Agrippa ! Then we switch to his inner mind in flashback under guise of "Why did I not die then.?" but with a great epic sense of wonderful language after 131), Hector buried but stiff and stern in death and the flow from man to man with the river sweeping it all down its channel. ---- Perhaps do it thus: at 128) starting strong and frantic, by 131) a quieting and sad pacing, slowing and rubato to 135) when the river runs out to the sea.
READING: After the initial pained statements, which are full of hesitations and groaning, we come to a very difficult part of the speech. At first it seems difficult to voice out the questions about ": Why did I not die ...?", but quickly it moves into a vignette of the killing field of Troy at 131), that wonderful image of Hector unyielding in the grave. (Think of the Spartans dead at Thermopylae: "We never went off duty!"). The last three lines with the great sweep of the river washing down its channels the apparatus or warfare and corpses........(how to intone these is implicitly stated in line 136-8).
SOUND: Lines 123-125) are full of tones of groan and despair, but with the speech "O Happy They....." we have a backflash to a scene long since past. Perhaps echo and reverb as at a distance, a sense of a far scene from the past (but racing through the speaker's mind as if before his eyes) might be the best way.
At once Aeneas" limbs are unstrung, chilled. He groans
Aye, there it is that Hector lies stretched out
Section 17, line 102 ff.
TEXT: From the far-off and vignetted world of dead bodies and armaments on dry land, we turn to a present world of sea-turmoil, going from Ship to Waves, Billows roaring down to the Sea Floor in a careening plunge. We are being sucked down into the water to the sand base which we see for just a second as the waves rip themselves away......LAND at the bottom. This section calls for deep, hard wording, dramatic franticness but fast-moving.
READING: Here is a sea scene from the Titanic, all waves and roar of watery turmoil to 141) and then turning to the MEN, little figures seen for a second hanging in space above the yawning sea showing sand beneath........all a brilliant voice passage; but the picture must not be lost in the sounds. The reader must "think" the scene too.
SOUND: This part has severe alternations from one side to the other, the motions are oscillatory, momentary, out of phase. Deep yawning electronic-style sounds, tympani and low woodwinds perhaps, but with clear and abrupt phrasing to mimic the contrary motions of this section.
Such words he flung wildly forth, as a blasting roar
Section 18, line 108 ff.
TEXT: Now we focus on the actual ships (static Altar rocks standing still are contrastive) Up to 150) it is eyes on the ships, then 151) we see the helmsman washed over, ship sucked down, and then bits and pieces floating immediately on the surface- --- with gold coins and statues at the bottom seen for a second down through the waves above. Then more ships are seen, named to bring them back into connection, and everything falling apart, weakening voice with halts to split apart.
READING: Lines 145-6) give a strange breath of staticness in the middle of all this rush and road, almost a bit of archaeological history inserted --- for what purpose?
Here the reader might well be nautically experienced to make it carry, at 145) the helmsman seen for a second just as he is sucked down, a great cinematic effect long before the camera was there to document such scenes! Then the farrago of mixed object pathetically floating on the whirling surface, and (wonderful) the treasured gold and pearls glimmer up through the water from the seafloor. ("Those are pearls that were his eyes..."). This is a long 16 line speech and needs sectioning into several parts with different attacks, it must not go through as one line of speechmaking.
SOUND: The first three lines 144-146) are an unexpected pause in the action. But then back again to the sea-storm with a bucket full of taped sea-roar sounds. Look for cracked masts, oars; and ropes tearing, But this time it is the men he is dealing with, so perhaps think of short rhythmic patterns with melodic fragments to go with each "person phrase". We are adding something which corresponds to persons into the above sea-storm scene.
Three ships the South catches, flings upon hidden rocks
Section 19, line 124 ff.
TEXT: Now a quick flash upward from the swirling waters to the GOD's Mind. He is a virtual Submarine, with his periscope-like eye emerging from the sea and surveying the scene in disturbed, annoyed but officer-like calm contemplation. The seastorm continues but is seen through Neptune's tranquil mind, after all he behaves with royal manners, and will call forth formally to his Judicial Court the aberrant winds. Now calm spreads on the waters, and the mind of the SEA from the quiet below finally perceives the disturbance from his watery throne, as if in his Yellow Submarine!
READING: This scene is not yet all calm, it is the preparation as we de-escalate down from sea-rage to an orderly ordering of sea-events in the court of "He Who Must Be Obeyed". In preparation he calls a committee meeting which he rules with absolute confidence.-------How do this with words? Think of the Roman ideal of "gravitas", that mark of seriousness and solidarity which always characterize the best Roman type in their terms. We need a tone of high seriousness, but nothing like a puritanical shock, this is just the Roman way of going about business with purposeful dignity. The Romans were used to putting down uprisings!
SOUND: Suddenly all the storm sound must collapse in a few bars, replaced by the Mind of the God, whose tranquil brow is raised in astonishment just above the surface of the waters. But remember he is Sea God still, hence sea motives. At 166-8) a capsule view of the previous sea-riot follows, but then the imperial calm of a Chair calling a Committee Meeting on "a matter of procedure".
Meantime the roaring riot of the ocean and the storm let loose
Section 20, line 132 ff.
TEXT: Is this a Nature Scene? Or a formal Court Arraignment in Roman style? First Neptune is amazed by their boldness and independence (172). But right away he remember the chain of command, that the winds went ahead without Orders, to disturb the world. "You whom I...." aposiopesis or "silencing off..." is here not a threat as often used, but "you whom I trusted......." hence should have a different reluctant tone. -----But right away, back to business: Get things set straight.
READING: Doing things in Roman administrative order, Neptune. sends Aeolus a formal message defining the charge a) proceeding without orders, formally said b) continue under orders in your function carefully, prescribed job in a sarcastically noted minor environment...you little fellow!..... but like what you really are a Jail Master, there are the handcuffs and windows in iron, then as now.
In the first lines, 172-5) there is the reproach of the Administrator of Empire to those who failed to understand that power rests with the person and responsum of the Ruler. "Only I can...... And you I was putting in office to......" Tone of anger, restrained, hurt at the idea of losing place and duty.
SOUND: No sound of background or musical score for these first four lines. This is the voice of authority speaking against a silenced atmosphere.
"Are ye so wholly overmastered by the pride of pedigree?
Section 20, line 135 ff.
TEXT: Now proceeding to the business at hand: Calmly asserting authority. Calmly sending out an official message on the proper channels of government:
READING: Tell him it is not (he) but ME......He has his little rotten realm, stay in there in that countryside lock-up, and do (only) what you were told. The voice must carry authority, factual instructions, and deep sarcasm embedded in the terms of this little King's duties, defined.
SOUND: Since this is a Courtroom Scene, it might be possible to introduce some background noise of shuffling, chairs moving, a courtroom assembling, mumbled voice of All Rise........The voice must have strong reverb in this Hall of Justice, but be perfectly clear. It can be carried off acoustically, perhaps try a shuffle of people rising, and the judge's gavel sounding smartly. Silence for a second!
But it were best now to calm the troubled waves
Section 21, line 142 ff.
TEXT: Complete contrast follows. Now a scene of lovely calm on the sun bright surface of the sea, and a snap shot of two mer-persons trying in vain to dislodge a ship, which the SeaKing does more effectively for them, his Trident becoming a Roman lever bar, then a sand shovel, and in a moment he is seen for a flash skimming away on chariot over the glistening seascape.
At last with Neptune the Great One, all is light and swift moving, a master charioteer driving his team with wheels which hardly touch the sea, and he lets his rein fall free without constraint (as before at line 86) Jove the supreme authority had said a King would know how to do. Pull in hard AND when right let go free). Now all is light and free again.
READING: This whole passage is charming, lovely, must come out verbally and acoustically like the light of the sun after a thunderstorm. The voicing must be lovely and light,. but not glossy or frivolous. We are visually painting a water-scape of small figures as if seen in a telescope backwards, very far away in their reduction, but very crystal-clear in detail. This is long-lens viewing, over the Mediterranean blue, it must be painted with a delicate voice brush.
SOUND: If there are sounds which mimics the shape and colors of the rainbow, then they must be employed behind this lovely, post-storm shore-scape, seen from afar. Light woodwinds sounds with marimba, but very soft and delicate, in clear counterpoint, and some bells high up.
He speaks and ere his words are gone, he's soothed
Section 22, line 148 ff.
TEXT: Now with one of Vergil's wonderful "asides" (not like Homer's illustrative figures of speech which portray by "looking parallel"), the Narrator looks away and connects with another thought in mild allusion, as we turn to an angry crowd of coarse inflammatory citizens, bellowing with anger. But............when a man of Stature arises as at 195), one with social and political proven record 196), the group's attention turns to him automatically as the Leader, while his quiet voice brings them back to social reasonableness. The Men of Athens were less likely to listen to such a man of serious intent addressing them, but the social Romans had their ears ready.
READING: The "aside" in brackets is to be handled in one breath. This scene comes from a real world, that of daily experience in an operating society such as the Roman's or ours. It could be a Union leader standing before his assembled members, or a speech in Congress where a respected leader of long standing steps up to speak......
SOUND: This scene is soft, sincere, flat sound with no reverb as if it were a TV commentator remarking about a situation in the public eye.......a tone which we can easily recall and recreate from memory. No Walter Winchell but perhaps a Daniel Shore, factual and matter of fact, and the kind of voice one listens to.
(Even as when in a great crowd tumult is often stirred,
Section 23, line 157 ff.
TEXT: If all was sea before, now we turn with specific emphasis to LAND. Shipwrecked men will reach for any land at all, it is dry and what they are yearning for, 203) and again 219-21). ----- But from 202) on, we turn to the ancient notion of The Lovely Nook, (locus amoenus in the classical manuals!) a charmed and protected place of great beauty, which could be a sacred grove in the forest with magical powers, or a fjord on the coast or a sand-strand like this, with beauty and also safety.
The wording for this charmed spot must be handled with utmost sensitivity to keep its sense intact. The word "scaena" brings to mind an amphitheatral view, hence the phrase "theatral ring" of Conington is nice, not too specific but clear enough. The nymphic imagery in 214) is light and evanescent, but changes immediately to ships without rope or anchor, as seven ships along the shore come in our view, and closer focusing again, the men are lying saved on the beach, alive!
But as soon as we see the men, we see Roman practicality and survivor-ship at work, a spark, a fire, drying grain, grinding flour, a busy scene of men moving around and doing things to get their world again in order. Think of the l900 recreated scene of Indian villagers in the NY Museum of Natural History, small activity in almost static action. A scene to warm the heart of a BoyScout group leader!
READING: The reading should be very clear and descriptive, putting micro-emphases on individual words and terms, as it were hi-liting them one by one. Any word which refers to "dry" or "land" or campfire scene must get a small anagogic pause. From 222) on it is the process of survival-camping which gets the attention, point by point and detail by detail.
SOUND: A light musical score, almost unheard, combined with the whisper of winds in the treetops, is all that should come in here. The Andean flute in the distance may be heard from time to time to make us reach out for it, then stop. After 222) only footsteps, branches breaking, crackling fire, a few mumbled words of talk among the survivors.
But spent with toil, the family of Aeneas labors now
with seven ships mustered
Section 24, line 180 ff.
TEXT: We get first a view of the place as seen from a vantage point, a distant survey of the sea. But immediately this shifts to a near-focus down on the shore below the height --- and a herd of deer. We change the previous calm survey of the sea, to a scene of fast action in the hunting tradition, but this in turn converts to meat as food, as the hunters deftly cut up the carcasses, prepare fire, dry soaked grain, and settle down around a campfire. But this is all done in sudden visual flashes, with very little detail and all action, preparing us for the next psychological step --- sorrow!
READING: In reading there are three tenors: First there is a surveying, watching style of talk, as he climbs high and looks around. Then 234-243) we have a hunting scene, with some mounting eagerness, the sense of the hunt, the lofty held antlers which fascinate every hunter, the pursuit and the kill. Third is a scene around the campfire, good comradeship, meat and wine. These three "aspects" break up the passage nicely.
SOUND: Sound: As he climbs the hill to look, some wind and forest sounds, but when he sights the herd of deer, only forest sounds, from a distance branches crackling underfoot, and when the herd begins to flee a very light musical beat with dry tympani, clarinet low register "tonal leaps" interspersed with rests. For the campfire scene persons chatting, fire crackling, anything that has a social sense to it.
Aeneas meanwhile clambers up a rock, tries to get
At once be took his stand, and caught up a bow
Section 25, line 198 ff.
TEXT: A formal speech from Aeneas to the men, a smoothly contextured little rhetorical address. Remember that Vergil in his younger years was a student, which means he was being trained in the art of rhetoric, the door of access to the Court of Law. We have dozens of such rhetorical exercises, the Senecan Controversiae and others, which are much in the vein of what our college students do on Debate Team. The trick is to find the examples and arguments to make your point stick and this is a good example.
READING: The frank and friendly "Comrades", is much like FDR's radio addresses to the populace of the United States, warm and friendly, but dignified. This is how the leader is "supposed" to feel toward his people, especially the point "we are all in this together..". "Heaven's balm" and the sure cure for today oils the ways of the argument, which then does a flashback to what we have come through (scary but true), leading to the future smile at recalling today. Next naturally follows a vignette of "the Future" in positive terms, and "keep a stiff upper lip" in closing. The wartime speeches of Churchill were built on such a classical model, most effective and well constructed too.
Reading technique? It might be possible to cast a light Virginia accent over such a speech, in view of the gently cadenced articulateness of the southern tradition, as against a flat point-by-point development in the Lincoln manner. If Aeneas is type-cast as border Southern, that will have to go through the performance, and best think it through here. After all, didn't the Confederacy want to build up a Roman type Empire in the south, latifundia and slaves and all, with solid military hand to back it up? Think hard at this juncture before going ahead.
SOUND: All we need here is the background movement of people assembled to hear a serious political talk, mostly in silence of attention with a few coughs and a someone changing his place perhaps. The sounds which go with nods of assent, if they can be conjured up, would fit in well around the middle and again more emphatically at the end, not a "yes" or "hear! hear!", but something to round off a well directed heart-to-heart talk..
"Comrades! for comrades we are, no strangers now
Section 26, line 203 ff.
TEXT: Again I think of the friendly, hopeful and forceful radio speeches of FDR, after which we could catch a moment of seeing his tired, worn and discouraged face before the camera flicked away. So here, the encouragement being successfully administered, the Leader collapses back into his private thoughts of care. But it only a moment, we move instantly into the one thing which cheers men more than anything except sex, which is DINNER.
READING: Banquets of all sorts figure well in all kinds of art, from the Last Supper to the long and formal dinner tables of the English gentry. Or over here, Thanksgiving dinner a la Norman Rockwell, a memorable moment for all. But mixed with anticipation of rest and food, we have a busy scene which might come out of a minor Dutch master, people running here and there doing all sort of things deftly, until the boards laid on sawhorses are loaded and we come to Homer's moment "when they had taken enough of food and of drink, then........".
The reader can follow the structure: Sad at start. Activity and cutting and cooking and feasting, after which quiet. Sad at end. This can be done easily in the reading if the A B A pattern is laid out first.
SOUND: Here we need silence at the start and end segments, with the interlude loaded lightly with the sound of men moving about, fire cracking and pans clunking, men chomping on their chunks of venzon (sic!), and again quiet in sadness at the end.
This said, heart-sick with overwhelming care, be wears
Section 27, line 223 ff.
TEXT: As the previous scene silences off, we have one of those shifts of focus which Vergil is so quick and good at. After the immediate shift in a flash upward to GOD, we enter into his mind and looking downward survey with his calm dignity the whole world lying flat on the terrain below. It is as if Vergil were looking over the public display map which Agrippa had made and placed in the Forum, and suddenly saw the whole Mediterranean Basic as if through Jupiter's eyes.
READING: Reading as if looking at a geodesic map, should inspire some feeling of space and wonder, those seas on which the continents float, the men busy at their businesses here and there. I have had such a sense of spatiality at a distance flying over the fields of the Midwest, so far and distant. But at the same time because of what I know to be down there, very close and pertinent. So GOD sees Man and his World.
SOUND: Wind and air sounds, perhaps a minor pattern or a cloud condensing to a shower, a touch of thunder very far off to define the sense of space.........nothing more.
And now at last their mourning has an end, when far above
Treatment of the Sequences of the Gods
The handling of the sequences which involve the discourses of the Deities is going to demand some special techniques and devices, if it is to work artistically. At the bottom end of the possibilities, we have trite declamations, which is largely what the passages we are not approach, will involve. Not only are we dealing with a "religion-no-religion", we are dealing with a literary tradition which has worn itself out over the centuries and unless revivified, will pull down our whole performance.
First, let me point to the historical tradition of the gods who are in Homer's words, "rheia zoontes...... living at ease". They are "happy" or makares, which Lucretius took to mean they live in a world of their own, but I think we can at ouR distance in time, take these terms in a different way.
The Gods are 'lightheaded" in their fortunate emancipation from reality, as it intoxicated with a high level of nectar in their blood, not unlike the ancient Indian notion of being happy forever through the use of "soma" which is probably more related to cannabis than to devotion. And the native Americans know the value of some mushroom intoxication as a way of clearing parts of the mental pathways, and the Greeks were clearly involved at Eleusis and elsewhere in highly developed mushroom based cults.
Faced with the difficulty of rendering the somewhat heavy-handed passages which follow, I suggest we adopt a radically difficult attitude and project the conversations with the deities as supremely and celestially lightheaded. This can be done with the manner of reading, the fast and at times superficial rhythmic pacing, and above all, through appropriate use of the voice timbres.
When the old comic strip Little Orphan Annie became a movie, the director knew how to lighten the tone of the old comic, and it worked out very well indeed. I am, not suggesting that we convert Venus to an earlier Annie, or Jovis pater to a mere Zeus Daddy, but I am thinking of the use of edges of such a situation as a way of reclaiming what might be a dreary discourse.
This will take a lot of thought and much experiment, but it is the only way I can think of enlivening the inter-theic passages, and if it works there, then the way is clear for Venus talking like an overage girlie of the hippy period, in contrast to a highly serious Al Gore-like Aeneas, the model of absolutely sincerity.
Section 28, line 227 ff.
TEXT: Often we can be successful bending ancient thoughts to become accessible in our modern terms, but still we find ourselves in a foreign terrain, and it must all be taken the way they put it long ago. Curiously, this is not Religion at all, but the cultural leftover from what must have been a religion at a very early date, before the Eleusinian Mysteries in the 7th c. B.C. grabbed the mind of the people, incidentally paving the way for Christianity in some degree. If such scenes of Gods talking to each other like human kind seems strained and thematically weak, it is just that for us now. We cannot enter the spiritual side of Hellenic Mythology because it had been mummified centuries before, but we can enter into the literary world of the Myths as Stories, just as we read to our children (and to ourselves) stories about Brer Rabbit, Popeye a la Robin Williams, and now Harry Potter.
READING: I went into above discourse on the Gods for a reason. When we deal with passages like this one, we MUST avoid the traditional dry-as-dust "so interesting" treatment. Best make the celestial one into real people, even though they wear a costume and a mask, let them talk the way we do and do what foolish things we do too. After all WE wear our masks and costumes too, our business suits and meaningless archaic smile. OK, back to the reading, we want something interesting and imaginative here, above all NO DEAD DEITIES, please.
Venus speaks soft and seductive, she is a high level geisha of some culture but with human foibles of course. But she feels like being motherly at times, as here, and can do it fairly well. But she doesn't lose her charmingness, which must come out in the reading. She is a little silly too, a girlie voice like Marilyn almost, but like her she has a tragic side too, she really does care. Run with it!
SOUND: This is certainly a good place to start thinking about something verging on Song. I believe light sprechstimme with lilting feminine voice in a low soprano range, moving into a few sung lines (encouraged by a musical background track which invites her in) might be most interesting. Not easy, but...........
To Him speaks Lady Venus, revolving in her breast
Section 29, line 240 ff.
TEXT: Here she verges into "History of Things Past", and this passage must be gone over faster, as if she is hurrying on to make a point with Daddy. Maybe a handkerchief with the sniffles might cover her haste to get over the history lesson. Or could she (better) assume a Protean role as SchoolMistress for the moment, tentatively didactic as if she were reading from a School Reader to make her point?
READING: This section needs something more........think of water sounds, coupled with architectural activity......and confer!
Mighty King, what end of suffering have you to offer them?
Section 30, line 1 ff.
TEXT: Now she is all tears again, sniveling in her handkerchief, and the feminine stereotype can emerge after the history lesson which was weak enough, failed to get Dad's attention
READING: This should be easy and natural to read, go back to the feminine stance and sound and play it in a stock-style. It can be glitch without fear because that really suits the lady of Love, doesn't it?
SOUND: If we has some elements of song before, we could not think of a continuous sung line here, perhaps something after Piaf or the French chanson style, so that it can be mannerismed but with style.
Meantime we are severed far from the Italian shores
Section 31, line 254 ff.
TEXT: The start of this paragraph is light and delicate, much in the vein on Homer's "pappa phile.....", but moves quickly into a projection of the Future of Rome, a highly political and quite nationalistic tirade.
READING: The bracketed section is interesting in its mysterious reference to the Fates slumbering over their Books, a nice picture. But then on to the national consciousness. I wonder if the best way to handle this isn't to give it a histrionic nationalist flair, in other word rather than apologize for the outdates Nationalism, go for it and do it up right. After all, this is the "program" for many states including the British Empire and much of US Foreign Policy. for decades. How it rose up over the course of two millennia, possibly with a strong education Classical backing! This should not be hard to do in the reading, think of Rush Limbaugh and go for it.
From the words "your hero......." on, the original has the oracular style, as if the words were delivered by the Lady at Cumae, and we can use a formal, slow spoken and ponderous imitation of what we think an Oracular Response may have been like. This continue for quite a way into the passage.
SOUND: For a music background, I suggest some lightly played trumpet music from the 16th century, as complex enough polyphonically to hold the attention, while the ever-present horns give a flare to the national temperament. Much to choose from, can be sutures from various sources with overlays on overlays, relieved by empty spaces.
Look again at the section in the PREFACE: "Musical Background"
Smiling lightly on her, that planter of gods and men,
Section 32, line 280 ff.
TEXT: Here we find more clear traces of the oracular style, and since he is oraclizing in fact, the best reading might be to do it up strongly.
READING: ......... but at the same time if the reading can elicit a sense of the futility of it all, mentally contemplating the withdrawal from Roman Britain, the Germanic Incursions, the Christian conversions and finally the grinding down of the efficiency of the Administrative System ------ then a weary tone might be overlaid on this vain dream of Empire Forever. Hitler's Empire was gone in two decades,. so the Romans can pride themselves on four centuries perhaps. --- Vanquished Greece? Did Rome without a single speculative philosopher really win the war?
Nay, Juno your savage foe, who now in her blind terror,
Section 33, line 286 ff.
TEXT: Here is an interesting challenge: To fuse together without a bad seam, the nationalism and vain dream of the first half of the next paragraph, with the dream ("In those days, War shall cease.......") with which we are still strongly engaged. If it wasn't for the League of Nations, or later the United Nations Organization to do the job, still we have hope if not faith that somehow the atrocities of formal warfare and even worse blind terrorism and genocide can be somehow eliminated from the list of our human activities.
READING: Not much hope as the second MM ends, but still a hope. And this can be worked into the reading of this paragraph with real meaning and conviction.
SOUND. It may be possible to put together a melange of half a dozen well known National Anthems, starting with one track and overlayering, until by the time the last is running, the whole sound mix is an unintelligible roar. The music could carry the message in the end........... This is the sort of aural overlay which Steve Reich was doing years ago with "Come out to show...........", clear wording fusing into a melange with a message of its own.
Then, shall be born child of illustrious line, Trojan as your own,
Section 34, line 297 ff.
TEXT: Opportunely for the story and for our reading, a vision of peace appears, with all the marks and tokens of the end of thoughts of war. Just at the right time..... but of course it is flawed.
READING: Here we must have a kindly tone of the arrival of the dove of peace, the answer to the above prayer of the closing of the gates of the temple of War. But of course it is a flawed vision, arranged on the spur by connivance and convenience, nothing but a suspension of hostility for some short term purposes. So is it always, peace in the Balkans after Kosovo?
SOUND: We need an anthem of peace and quietude, something perhaps from Handel with a full sound of solidity, and a feeling of fulfillment.
So saying, word from on high that Carthage The New,
Section 35, line 305 ff.
TEXT: It was Conington who coined the phrase Aeneas The Good, a fine replacement for the awful "Pious Aeneas" which even Yates laughed at. It gives the feeling of antiquity like that of old English rulers, and this fits well with the antiquity of the pre-Romulan era.
READING: This passage is swift moving, quick and deft, as he moves around in his mind and also in the scenery. The reading has to have a hurried pace like Aeneas as he scurries and plans. But it is also a zoom shot into a small scene in which there is a lot of activity. It wants to have a feeling reporterage..............!
SOUND: Nothing more than a little wind and bristling of the pines.
But Aeneas the Good, | that whole night | these many things,
Section 36, line 314 ff.
TEXT: This is an entirely different kind of scene, meeting a lady in the woods, a bit of dialogue, a chance encounter (not chance at all) and as such lightly done. Her dress is in focus, interesting detail in human style and quite near in focus.
READING: Read to get good imagery of her dress, the details outline this rare picture of a human-style lady personage, and is a sense a relief as against the rubber-stamp imagery of the Gods.
SOUND: Again only light woodsy sounds, I suggest a hound-cry in the distance once or twice might be in order, a clink or arrows perhaps. All simple stuff not overdone, touches..........
He had reached the middle of the wood, when his right way
Section 37, line 325 ff.
TEXT: Again Venus' jaunty style of talking, Aeneas is pretty grim, self-debasingly polite, cautious and most anxious to please. Note the actual bribe at the end: as a sacrifice andIarbas' problem with sacrificial victims.. In the later Empire victims were getting costly and hence unusual.
READING: We want to oppose this passage to the previous, her lightness and airy attitude, nice fakery. His down to earth concentration on his own problems......... a Roman in practical mode.
SOUND: Perhaps we could do something with Aeneas shuffling his feet as he talks, a little bowing and scraping, as he shifts and tries to get in position.
Thus Venus spoke, and Venus' son replied: "No sight or sound
Section 38, line 335 ff.
TEXT: Again Venus is clear and speaks lightly about her dress. Following this come two passages of reporterage, very nicely condensed to fill in background, and we want a newscaster's summary style.
READING: a) This passage first as summing up a long line of history.
Then Venus: "No!, I can not lay my claim to any such pedigree.
Section 39, line 345 ff.
TEXT: Continuing: Change to Horror Story.
READING: b) Rearrange the speaking style, pace and tone to come through with a real sense of horror, followed by ugly secrecy. Distaste!
But the crown of Tyre was on the head of brother Pygmalion,
Section 40, line 1 ff.
TEXT: Continuing: Two parts: First ghostly introductions. Then Action and scenes of flight, motion and activity.
READING: The speaking style is now fast-moving, following the live scene as with a zoom lens moving in and out from the ships, the preparations, the men in flight and the GOLD.
Termination: Re-focus from the treasure of GOLD to Carthage, bring back the focus to where the current action of the story lies.
But lo ! in her sleep there came to her no less than an ghost
But who are you men after all? What coast are you from,
That question he answers thus,
with a heavy sigh,
Section 41, line 372 ff.
TEXT: Here as above, we have a precis of the situation, a compact piece of reporterage neatly tucked into a short paragaph.
READING: How to handle this deftly in the reading is not easy, probably a certain formality in the reading is in order, but I suspect it may be the music background track which can hold it together....
SOUND: Can we lift some background Handel with an opera-like flare to backup this stiff little precis? This paragraph and tis wording would not be amiss in opera, so why not "operatize" it here in small?
"Fair goddess! if I begin from first and thus proceed
Section 42, line 385 ff.
TEXT: The reply from Venus has more motion and with the figure of the swan fleet, can be done more easily that the above passage.
READING: There are two reading textures here, in an A B A order. First is the vision of men going from here to there, active motion. Second is the looking away to the sky, for us it is still the thrilling sight of the Canadian Geese migrating (they go over my house in Vermont, exactly WH..), so the voice can shift to "nature wonder". Then thirdly, back to the fleet of ships moving safely into haven.
SOUND: Would we dare to try a very faint honking of Canadian Geese in the background for the middle passage? Nervy to try it at all, but only by hearing it can we tell if it has any possibilities. Worth a try with the convenience of a digital track, perhaps.
Venus could bear the
complaint no longer, she spoke out
Section 43, line 402 ff.
TEXT: In this short passage we again have the sensuality of the Goddess-motif as above.
II: Whatever we did with this there in rich and imaginative texture, can be flashed up again for the reading here.
SOUND: Music? I am thinking of something like Fred Cohen's start of third section of Lively Affections, take a soundbite like that repeating and use it to background Lady Venus ----- It must have the bell like and slightly laughing quality which goes with the silly lady.
She said, and as she turned away, there flashed on their sight
Section 44, line 405 ff.
TEXT: Back to Aeneas, and if we want to continue with an operatic touch, he can do a formal "complaint" in his usual whining cadences.
READING: Aeneas' readings can have varying dimensions and tones, which well suits his chameleon-like personal character. But underneath is simple, Roman "simplicitas", a directness which the Romans preferred above all other qualities. Ah well!
Soon as he knew his mother, he pursued her flying steps
Section 45, line 410 ff.
TEXT: Contrast of whining Aeneas is good here, as Venus gives a whiff of her far off temple and her retreat to celestial life-style.
READING: Use the rich and sensual reading style again......
SOUND: The "rich music theme" here, perhaps more Mendelsohn than Handel for the nonce.
Upbraiding her thus, he went his way to the walls of town.
Section 46, line 418 ff.
TEXT: This is a wonderful shot from above of human bustling activity, the kind of thing which joys the active and practical Roman heart. Caesar building a pontoon bridge over the river, Agrippa commissioning the Pantheon, the marble edifices in far-away Roman Britain ------- the Roman genius for applied Engineering.
READING: The voice must catch the interest and excitement of this scene of multifarious occupations each doing its own thing, a "documentary" vision looking down from the ridge above the city.
SOUND: Crowd sounds here, with some banging of hammers and clunking of stones being chipped......
Meanwhile, they push on their way, where the path leads,
Section 47, line 430 ff.
TEXT: And with a brilliant perception of "social animal life", we shift focus to a colony of bees, a classic treatment of something to delight the heart of Harvard's entomologist Prof. Wilson to this day.
READING: Reading will enjoy the details as very interesting, very like our human frantic sense of eternal activity, a very honey-factory.....
SOUND: Surely some sound of a hive buzzing is mandatory, exactly how it is to be handled acoustically is a matter of test and try.
(Such are the toils that keep the commonwealth of bees
"O happy they,
Section 48, line 441 ff.
TEXT: It is this richness of the foreign city which Vergil seems to enjoy so heartily (recall my Prefatory remarks on Vergil the Carthaginian). It is interesting that he can encompass the whole development of this palace so well, from Forest first, then an Archaeological Find of the statue, then the whole magnificent Palace zooming up into place.
READING: By letting the voice dwell ever so lightly on the key words, the transition from shaded woods......... to the stone object found.........to the grand palace rising........ and the back to the grove where Aeneas is standing -------- a special texture can be voice-woven for this rather special passage.
A grove there was in the heart of the city, plenteous of shade,
Section 49, line 453 ff.
TEXT: If we think "flashback" is the invention of modern cinema, think again! But this is a special flashback because it is generated by a complex image of many parts, and in turn generates another image far away of a similar texture. I think of Leonardo's statement that if you look at an old stone wall long enough, you will see scenes of battle, men and horses, all appearing before your mind's eye. So here.......!
READING: Hardly necessary to say that the voice and reading must give an eerie sense of pastness, strangeness and the mist of history to this passage as Aeneas ranges over what is virtually a montaged-flashback.
SOUND: A thin veil of mystery-background-sound, nothing more.
While his eye ranges over all under the temple's massy roof,
So speaking, he feeds his soul on this empty portraiture,
See ! he drives off the fiery steeds back to his own camp,
Heavy indeed was the groan that Aeneas fetched up
Section 50, line 494 ff.
TEXT: At last the long flashback ends, exhausted we sink back to the world of Dido the lovely lady and Queen, a needed contrast indeed. But as soon as we focus on Dido and her loveliness, we do another switch of the mind in the ASIDE to a very different kind of lady, Diana the mistress of the Hunt in a foresty, imaginative zoom.
And then in a second, we are back to the "real" Dido in her city, a town of men with laws and temples and a sense of Empire, where we can return to Sir Aeneas and his men.
READING: It is the speed of transition from one motif to the next and on to the next that the reader must somehow trace out with his voice, not only changes of tone and pace, but the spacing of the acoustic imagery.
SOUND: A musical background here must be light and airy, yet with a royal tone to it.
With these things flicking before the wondering eyes
Eagerly were they burning to join their hands with theirs,
Section 51, line 522 ff.
TEXT: From here on through several long passages, we have a difficult task.. There is a general progression or order, from the Petitioner's Speech, through the vision of future Hesperia, on to our Arrival on this unknown shore, and then Our Fearless Leader Aeneas. (or his surrogate Iulus if necessary). Since we have been through most of this before in one form or another, we are going to have to devise some new threads to hang this together in an interesting artistic fashion.
READING: I am afraid that the only way to do this will be through voice-leading and the differential articulation of specific words and phrases with a different mode of presentation suitable to those specific nodes. This sounds difficult, but it is really the way the Latin original works, that "voice between the lines" which comes from the form and configuration of words and phrases, quite separate from the storyline.I think this long section must be taken somehow in such a spirit, and feel more detailed comment now will be meaningless. How we embroider, as it were, this complex fabric will be the hardest part of this performance, as I see it. Pause here to consider and gather up breath!
SOUND: In light of the above remarks, I think we had best hold sound and music ideas on tap until the readings are outlined. But if reading-texturization is workable as a way of handing these following passages, then a carefully textured background of musical patches may be exactly what is called for on a different but companion level.
Again, we should look at the last topic on the Preface Page for a fuller discussion of how background use of materials from Classical Baroque music can be used behind these highly textured and "embroidered" passsages.
After they had gained an entrance, and had obtained leave
"Gracious queen, to whom Jupiter has given it to found
there is a place over the sea,
If you defy the race of men, the weapons mortals wield,
.......then all our fears are over. Be not uneasy to have made
Section 52, line 560 ff.
TEXT: Dido comes to the aid of this long and rambling passage, with a nice clarity of speech in the first following passage (she states clearly her accepting point of view.......) and then develops an overview of what is happening on her side of the Mediterranean. sea (Carthage the New rising......). She has a Roman-style way of thinking about contracts, agreements of state, consolidation of parties, and is as Queen preparing for the arrival of her King.
READING: Here is good material for a strong female voice-part, everything is firm and clear, words and thoughts with no casting-about, so this passage in a way a relief of sorts, artistically.
READING: Reading: Dido has to have two sides: She is the Queen raising a city, assigning roles and giving laws. But she is a Near Eastern queen of a rich tradition, too. And beyond this she is sheer Womankind, and these three veins have to be running into the same reading of all her passage coherently, but of course contrastively. Attractive work for the female reader...!
Then briefly Dido, with downcast look, makes her reply:
But would you like to settle down along with me
Section 53, line 579 ff.
TEXT: The Mist is perhaps hard to justify theologically, but it has nice artistic flavor and if we relate to it with feeling, we should generate some neat turns in the development of the Mist passages.
READING: How the reader handles the Mist which envelopes images far better than an acoustic reading, is something to left left to the imagination. But it cannot be dismissed (dis-Mist) as dry mythology claptrap, we want to do something interesting with it, somehow.......
SOUND: As before, we have to have some notion of what Mist-Musik is and how it can be used in a delicate and restrained background. It may not even be heard, if can reside in the level of digital "noise" if necessary, but there should be something done with it.
Excited by her words, brave Achates and Father Aeneas, too,
Scarce had he spoken when the cloud that enveloped them
Section 54, line 594 ff.
TEXT: Again we have a formal Aenean speech, the interpretation of which will continue from what the Aeneas reader has developed in previous passages. If the notions seem somewhat overdrawn, we can either "operatize" a little, or cast it up to the nature of his character as a bit less than factually sincere...
Now he addresses the queen, and speaks suddenly
So saying, he stretches to his friend Ilioneus his right hand,
Section 55, line 613 ff.
TEXT: In healthy contrast to the above passage of Aeneas, this passage by Dido seems quite clear and finite, she swings back in her mind to the old days when she first heard of the Men of Troy (perhaps with a tinge of the strangeness of mind which Cassandra does in the Agam. when she talks of her childhood days), after which we move on to richness and embroidered tapestry language...........
II Here is a separate challenge to the Dido reader: Facts of history as part of the queenly credentials, but no touch yet of passion firing up.
Astounded was Dido, Sidon's daughter, first at the hero,
Foe as he was, he extolled the Teucrians with signal praise,
Section 56, line 631 ff.
TEXT: Now follows a part of short paragraphs involved with lavish richness of word and image, a critical part of the portrayal of "Carthage The Rich" (as against the standard Roman idea of "Carthage The Dangerous: ).
READING: If the voice can tastefully hang on each rich or lavish word, dallying as it were on the acoustic gravy, that will convey the impression of the passage --- a critical component of this part of the story.
these words, at that same moment
The palace within is laid out with all splendor of regal luxury,
Section 57, line 643 ff.
TEXT: ......... and the luxurious language continues with complementary rich imagery borne in from the Trojan side.
Aeneas, for his fatherly love would not leave his heart at rest,
Section 58, line 657 ff.
TEXT: Switch of scene and notion in good contrast: An agitated Venus who calls to mind the hatred of Juno, the old Love/hate dyad.
READING: The narrator must get touches of both emotions closely coupled in Venus' words, with the edges of these emotions kept separate and intact.
But our Lady of Cythera was casting up new wiles in her breast,
Section 59, line 664 ff.
TEXT: Magic and a spell are of deep interest to the Roman people, and here is a combination of what seems to start as a magic piece of charmery, complete with divine apparition. But before the passage concludes, the Roman fascination with strategem, military maneuver and the field of battle starts to appear. Is it not natural to bring stratagem back to Carthage, whence Hannibal with his military designs almost broke Rome's back?
READING: Reader: Be sure to get the stratagem and military tone at the end, a good switch while in the thrust of the passage. But in the ensuing paragraph the magic of Cupido's seduction returns to the unholy world of charming charmery.
"My son, who art alone my strength and mighty power,
See the way in which we will bring
Section 60, line 659 ff.
TEXT: Again we return to the immediate Palace scene with cast of hundreds, all sort of elaborate and luxurious items on the set, and a good chance to enter into the Palace of a Near Eastern monarch. For the Roman this was like our De Mille movie world!
READING: By this time no need to point to the reader the richness of wording in such palace setting.!
SOUND: Music! Certainly low level background baroque string music is usable here, I would even think of some Corelli as having the slow pace of regal life with the rich overtones of a palace setting.
At once Love complies with his fond mother's words,
Meanwhile Cupid was on his way in all obedience,
Section 61, line 709 ff.
TEXT: Now at last we see the mouth of the love-trap setting, the insidious plot starts to convert Dido from a Queen Victoria heading a growing Empire, to a helpless woman with nothing but fire in her veins (sic!).
SOUND: Seduction music! We have many choices but should probably stay within the outline of the period music we have been using heretofore.
There is marveling at Aeneas' presents, marveling at Iulus,
Section 62, line 723 ff.
TEXT: After the scene of Passion, back to the embroidery of Luxury for another take of the vast Palace, its attendants and equipment, a good scene for contrast of the external following an internal scene.
READING: Remember the wide range which modern salespersons use in the modulation of their voices, some of which can be used here. Consider for a moment the sales-pitch used as a descriptive tool in such a lavish department store of rich goods. Rising and fall of the pitch, dynamic shifts, the clincher ending.
When the banquet's first lull was come, and the board removed,
"Jupiter, for thou hast name of lawgiver for guest and host,
Section 63, line 740 ff.
TEXT: This passage with the Bardic Interlude should be given full attention, not only because it is unique in Vergil (virtually unique in Homer too), but because we are now at last aware of the bardic tradition and can hear this short passage better than any people in the last few centuries.
READING: A great chance to sound "bardic", take it as a chance to enter that world, not just describe it as a documentary exercise.
Then came the other lords in order, Iopas that long-haired bard
Section 64, line 748 ff.
TEXT: Now we get the first inkling of the conversion to passion which is going on in Dido's mind, as it were, the clue and preface to the begging of the next Part: "Dido in Love".
READING: The reading must encompass passion, change of pace and emphasis on specific wordings. A good start into the language of love, which will dominate the next Part completely.
SOUND: Music here for the first time can go into the flush of true love-music, and I think nothing would be more suitable than a turn to the Elizabethan love music of voice and lyre. e.g. Dowland and others or that style.
With varied talk, too, she kept lengthening out the night,
Section 65, Book II, 1-5 ff.
TEXT: Poised action, dead silence, slow paced wording.
READING: With the word "chant". a low background musical stir of strings starts, and the nest short passage concluding this scene should be actually chanted in sprechstimme style with guitar strummed accompaniment on a phrygian scale base.
EVERY tongue was hushed, and every eye fixe'd intently,
Too cruel to be told, great Queen, is the great sorrow, but still
The End of Part One
Book II through III : Aeneas now tells the history of the Fall of Troy, his escape and travels around the seas in search of the Promised Land, a tale of great trials and misadventure, until at last he comes to the end of his story . Dido infatuated, hangs on his every word, until they part late at night, but the next morning (start of Book IV):
But now the Queen, long shot through with leaden love