André Campra (1660 - 1744)

for bass, two violins and continuo

Ref. no Cam 2 (in 'cantatas')           sample page      cover page      To order:     

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.