Giulio Cesare

Giulio Cesare The aria: Aure, deh, per pieta from the opera Giulio Cesare is in many ways typical of late 17th, early 18th century writing. First of all it is notated for a small string ensemble and Bassi meaning cello plus harpsichord. The cello plays the written line while the harpsichord plays the written line in the left hand and improvises the right hand using the chords indicated by the figured bass. The aria is also written in Italian despite the fact that Handels first language was not Italian, this was very common for the time. This is a da capo aria which was the main style of aria being composed at that time. It begins in the key of F major for section A, then for section B it moves into the relative minor which would be D minor, this also was very conventional in the late 17th early 18th century.

This aria originally would have been sung by a castrati. However castrati are no longer used in opera and therefor the part was sung by a woman. She adds trills and ornaments through out the piece, but especially during the repeat of section A. For example during the repeat of A in measures 53 and 54 she retards slightly and adds several ornaments which was very popular for the performance of the times. Also used is word painting, such as in measure 22 on the end of the word “dolor” which in English is best translated as pain, Handel writes an F dotted eighth note and then a G, E-flat, D on sixteenth notes which symbolizes a sigh to express the pain.

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