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Art of Your Choice Template

Each week in our Weekly Discussion, we ask you to select a work of art, architecture, music, or writing/performance art that you want to highlight.  In the first week, we ask you to do this with something you already know and like and it can come from any period including the here and now. Include an image of the art, architecture, or the title of the poem, work of writing or music you choose each week, followed by the name of who created it, the year it was created, and why you like it. In the following weeks, we will ask you to choose from the work being created during the time period we are studying that week.



This week's readings mention several musical compositions. Here you'll find background and a description of each—and the link to a video of the piece.

  • Jean-Baptiste Lully: Armide, Act 2, "Enfin, il est en ma puissance" ("At last, he is in my power").
    • An English translation of the lyrics.
    • Jean-Baptiste Lully composed the opera Armide in the late 1600s, during the reign of Louis XIV.
    • Armide (Armida) is the main character. She lives in the Muslim culture and is variously described as a sorceress, an enchantress, and a witch. She has been asked to thwart the efforts of the crusader knight Renaud, even murder him. She does succeed in casting a spell on him, but finds that she also has fallen in love with him, so following through with murder seems impossible. She approaches to do the deed, which is the setting for this song from the end of Act II of the opera. The story itself was based on a fictional epic poem of the 1500s.
  • Elizabeth-Claude Jacquet de la Guerre: Pieces de Clavecin ("Pieces for the Harpsichord").
    • This female composer and musician had performed in the court of Louis XIV since the age of five. This composition was for a dance.
    • Note the sound of the harpsichord (clavecin), precursor to the modern piano.
  • Henry Purcell: Dido and Aeneas, "Dido’s Lament."
    • An English translation of the lyrics.
    • "Dido's Lament," from Purcell's opera Dido and Aeneas, is also called "When I am laid in earth." The story it relates is from Book 4 of the ancient epic poem by Vergil, The Aeneid. Dido, the Queen of Carthage, and Aeneas, the warrior prince from ancient Troy, had fallen in love. But Aeneas was determined to fulfill his duty and divine destiny and go to Italy to found a new kingdom (that eventually becomes Rome). Aeneas is pulled by duty and destiny, and as queen, Dido cannot leave Carthage with him. In anguish because of his departure, she makes arrangements to put herself to death on a funeral pyre. Thus, the lament. "Dido's Lament" is one aria in Dido and Aeneas.
  • George Frideric Handel: Messiah, "Hallelujah Chorus."
    • This famous chorus is part of the renowned oratorio called Messiah.
    • Chapter 23 describes the term oratorio and note how it differs from opera.
    • Handel took the common Christian approach and understanding of scriptures as predicting and praising Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah. Most of the lyrics are taken from scriptural passages, especially those found in the Biblical books of Isaiah, Luke, and Revelation.
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