Memento - (2013)    

Igino Ugo Tarchetti

for high voice and piano


Quando bacio il tuo labbro profumato,
cara fanciulla, non posso obbliare
che un bianco teschio vi è sotto celato.

Quando a me stringo il tuo corpo vezzoso,
obbliar non poss'io, cara fanciulla,
che vi è sotto uno scheletro nascosto.

E nell'orrenda visione assorto,
dovunque o tocchi, o baci, o la man posi,
sento sporgere le fredda ossa di un morto.

2 pages, circa 2' 00"

Igino Ugo Tarchetti




When I kiss your perfumed lip,
dear child, I am unable to fathom
that within is hidden a white skull.

When I embrace your precious body,
I dare not apprehend, dear child,
that within is there the unseen skeleton.

And within these varying dark visions,
whether touches, or kisses, or the hand's caress,
I sense the cold protruding bones of death.



  Iginio Ugo Tarchetti (1839-1869) was an Italian writer. Ill health shortened a military career, after which he settled into Milan's literary circle, Scapigliatura, an anti-conformist, bohemian movement of rebellion against the traditions of culture, and intent on remaking culture by the import of artistic influences from Germany, France and elsewhere. Among the movement's participants was composer and librettist, Arrigo Boito.  Impoverished, Tarchetti died of tuberculosis at 29. His works come again into fashion as modern culture explores the imagery of his passion-filled literary world. That milieu and lifestyle became, in part, the subject of Puccini's La bohème a generation later.


 The setting moves across the broad ranges of both voice and piano, all the while traversing a small and repetitive harmonic palette, essayed in parallel four-note seven chords.



The score for Memento is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.