fontis amorum

(2002) 14′
soprano (child soprano or soprano) and string orchestra

Commissioned by Cistermúsica 2002


under the direction of Alexandre Delgado

Child Soprano Elvira de Paiva

Program Notes

I was born in the city of Coimbra and grew up in Lousã, 30km from the city. From an early age I was fascinated by the Coimbra, its history, its legends, its myths and places. The great love story of Pedro and Inês, associated with the legend of the Fountain of Tears, is the first theme I decided to treat musically. It al began far from the shores of the Mondego River, on the other side of the Atlantic, at Duke University Library. There I found a book that served as my road map for the journey: Inês de Castro, Um Tema Português na Europa, by Maria Leonor Machado de Sousa, Edições 70. With this book I was introduced to the Trouas by Garcia de Resende, Castro by António Ferreira, I re-read Os Lusiadas, Canto III, by Camões, and I descovered a latin poem, De Agnetis Caede, by André de Resende. In this poem, André de Resende creates many of the elements and images that António Ferreira and Camões would later imitate, in their works on the same theme, “as was acceptable and common practice at the time”, according to Maria Leonor de Sousa.

I chose the poem by André de Resende, in latin, as the text for a lament on the death of Inês, which I titled
Fontis Amorum, from the last line of the poem. From the 24 stanzas of the poem I chose numbers 3, 21 and 24, whose main element is water in the form of the river, the fountain and tears.

Stanza number 3 evokes the fields on the shores of the Mondego River and the memory of Pedro. Stanza 21 speaks of the green fields, the rivers and valleys crying over the death of Inês. Stanza 24, the last stanza of the poem, describes the transformation of the tears, wept for Inês' companions, into a natural spring which they named ‘Fontis amorum’, the fountain of love.


Sung in Latin
De Agnetis Caede, by André de Resende (1498-1573)

Pulchra iucundis fruebare, Virgo,                      Beautiful Virgin, you were enjoying the
Fructibus Mondae recreantis agros,                 sweet fruits of the Mondego, as it revived the fields,
Edocens flores resonare clarum                       teaching the flowers to re-echo
Nomen Amantis.                                                    the name of your lover.

Antra plorarunt viridesque luci,                         The caverns and green groves bewailed her,
Et piis fatum lacrimis acerbum                          and the valleys wept with tender tears,
Flere convalles sonituque rauco                       over her harsh fate; with raucous sound
Flumina flerunt. the rivers wept.

Virginis mortem sociae gementes                    The virgin’s friends, mourning her unjust death,
Impiam tristes lacrimis in undam                      to their tears that had turned into
Candidam versis, posuere nomen                    a fair spring, gave the name
‘Fontis amorum’.                                                   ‘Fountain of Love’.

Score Excerpts

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