for bass, two violins and continuo
The present work, Silène, is taken from his second book of cantatas, published in Paris in 1714. The text of Silène is by Antoine Danchet, a librettist much in demand at the time, particularly for the compositions of tragédies lyriques. Campra collaborated with him over a long period from Hésione (1700) to Achille et Deidamie (1735). Danchet based his libretto for Silène on the sixth Eclogue of Publius Virgilius Maro (Virgil, 70-19 BCE) the classical pastoral poet. In it two shepherd boys Chromis and Mnasyllus come across Silenus sleeping in a cave, and to tease him into singing for them, tie him up, abetted by the naiad Aegle. Awoken, Silenus promises them a song, and a quite different treat for the lovely naiad. Virgil’s original song is a hymn to pastoral bliss, but Danchet gives us a song extolling drink. Campra gives us an air abounding with Italianate vivacity.