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Il modo di prender moglie (1827) D902

Part of a series or song cycle:

Drei Gesänge (D902)

Il modo di prender moglie

Or sù! non ci pensiamo,
Coraggio e concludiamo,
Al fin s’io prendo moglie,
Sò ben perchè lo fò.
Lo fò per pagar i debiti,
La prendo per contanti,
Di dirlo, e di ripeterlo,
Difficoltà non ho.
Fra tanti modi e tanti
Di prender moglie al mondo,
Un modo più giocondo
Del mio trovar non sò.
Si prende per affetto,
Si prende per rispetto,
Si prende per consiglio,
Si prende per puntiglio,
Si prende per capriccio.
È vero, si o nò?
Ed io per medicina
Di tutti i mali miei
Un poco di sposina
Prendere non potrò?
Ho detto e’l ridico,
Lo fò per li contanti,
Lo fanno tanti e tanti
Anch’ io lo farò.

How to choose a wife

Now then, let’s not think about it;
Courage, let’s get it over with.
If in the end I have to take a wife
I know very well why I do it.
I do it to pay my debts.
I take her for the money.
I have no compunction telling you,
And repeating it.
Of all the ways of choosing a wife
In the world,
I know of no happier way
Than mine.
One chooses a wife for love,
Another out of respect,
Another because he is advised to,
Another out of propriety,
Another for a whim.
Is it true or not?
And I,
Why can’t I take a little wife
As remedy
For all my ills?
I’ve said it and I’ll say it again:
I do it for the money.
So many do it,
I do it too.

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Franz Peter Schubert was an late Classical and early Romantic composer. He produced a vast oeuvre during his short life, composing more the 600 vocal works (largely Lieder), and well as several symphonies, operas, and a large body of piano music. He was uncommonly gifted from a young age, but appreciation of his music was limited during his lifetime. His work became more popular in the decades after his death, and was praised by 19th century composers, including Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, and Liszt.

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Pietro Antonio Domenico Trapassi, better known by his pseudonym of Pietro Metastasio, was an Italian poet and librettist, considered the most important writer of opera seria libretti.

Metastasio was born in Rome, where his father, Felice Trapassi, a native of Assisi, had taken service in the Corsican regiment of the papal forces. Felice married a Bolognese woman, Francesca Galasti, and became a grocer in the Via dei Cappellari. The couple had two sons and two daughters; Pietro was the younger son.

Pietro, while still a child, is said to have attracted crowds by reciting impromptu verses on a given subject. On one such occasion in 1709, two men of distinction stopped to listen: Giovanni Vincenzo Gravina, famous for legal and literary erudition as well as his directorship of the Arcadian Academy, and Lorenzini, a critic of some note. Gravina was attracted by the boy's poetic talent and personal charm, and made Pietro his protégé; in the course of a few weeks he adopted him. Felice Trapassi was glad to give his son the chance of a good education and introduction into society.

Gravina hellenized the boy's name Trapassi into Metastasio, and intended his adopted son to be a jurist like himself. He therefore made the boy learn Latin and law. At the same time he cultivated his literary gifts, and displayed the youthful prodigy both at his own house and in the Roman coteries. Metastasio soon found himself competing with the most celebrated improvvisatori of his time in Italy. However, his days full of study and evenings devoted to improvising poetry took a toll on Pietro's health.

Gravina, making a business trip to Calabria, exhibited Metastasio in the literary circles of Naples, then placed him in the care of his kinsman Gregorio Caroprese at Scaléa. In country air and the quiet of the southern seashore Metastasio's health revived. Gravina decided that he should never improvise again, but should be reserved for nobler efforts, when, having completed his education, he might enter into competition with the greatest poets.

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