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The LiederNet Archive

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From harmony, from heav'nly harmony

Language: English

From harmony, from heav'nly harmony
This universal frame began:
When Nature underneath a heap
Of jarring atoms lay,
And could not heave her head,
The tuneful voice was heard from high:
"Arise, ye more than dead."
Then cold, and hot, and moist, and dry,
In order to their stations leap,
And Music's pow'r obey.
From harmony, from heav'nly harmony
This universal frame began:
From harmony to harmony
Thro' all the compass of the notes it ran,
The diapason closing full in Man.

What passion cannot Music raise and quell!
When Jubal struck the corded shell,
His list'ning brethren stood around,
And, wond'ring, on their faces fell
To worship that celestial sound.
Less than a god they thought there could not dwell
Within the hollow of that shell
That spoke so sweetly and so well.
What passion cannot Music raise and quell!

The Trumpet's loud clangor
Excites us to arms,
With shrill notes of anger,
And mortal alarms.
The double double double beat
Of the thund'ring Drum
Cries: "Hark! the foes come;
Charge, charge, 't is too late to retreat."

The soft complaining Flute
In dying notes discovers
The woes of hopeless lovers,
Whose dirge is whisper'd by the warbling Lute.

Sharp Violins proclaim
Their jealous pangs, and desperation,
Fury, frantic indignation,
Depth of pains, and height of passion,
For the fair, disdainful dame.

But O! what art can teach,
What human voice can reach,
The sacred Organ's praise?
Notes inspiring holy love,
Notes that wing their heav'nly ways
To mend the choirs above.

Orpheus could lead the savage race;
And trees unrooted left their place,
Sequacious of the lyre;
But bright Cecilia rais'd the wonder high'r:
When to her Organ vocal breath was giv'n,
An angel heard, and straight appear'd,
Mistaking earth for heav'n.

As from the pow'r of sacred lays
The spheres began to move,
And sung the great Creator's praise
To all the blest above,
So, when the last and dreadful hour
This crumbling pageant shall devour,
The Trumpet shall be heard on high,
The dead shall live, the living die,
And Music shall untune the sky.

Translation(s): FRE GER SPA

List of language codes

About the headline (FAQ)

In Händel's setting, each stanza is a separate movement:

1.    Overture: Larghetto e staccato—allegro—minuet
2.    Recitative (tenor): "From harmony, from heavenly harmony"
3.    Chorus: "From harmony, from heavenly harmony"
4.    Aria (soprano): "What passion cannot music raise and quell!"
5.    Aria (tenor) and Chorus: "The trumpet's loud clangour"
6.    March
7.    Aria (soprano): "The soft complaining flute"
8.    Aria (tenor): "Sharp violins proclaim their jealous pangs"
9.    Aria (soprano): "But oh! What art can teach"
10.   Aria (soprano): "Orpheus could lead the savage race"
11.   Recitative (soprano): "But bright Cecilia raised the wonder higher"
12.   Grand Chorus with (soprano): "As from the power of sacred lays"

Submitted by Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor] and Dave Evan Thomas


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

Text added to the website: 2006-06-12 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2018-12-21 16:55:53

Line count: 64
Word count: 351

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Canto en honor de Santa Cecilia

Language: Spanish (Español) after the English

De armonía, de célica armonía,
La fábrica brotó del universo.
 Cuando en revuelto caos
De discordantes átomos yacía
 Atónita Natura 
Y alzar el ciego rostro aun no podía,
Plácido acento resonó en la altura:
"¡Los que nunca habéis sido, levantaos! " 
Cada elemento al punto, antes disperso,
Húmedo ú seco, frígido ó ardiente,
 Salió en orden luciente
A tomar puesto en la extensión vacía,
Al poder de la música obediente.
De armonía, de célica armonía,
Brotó el mundo, y cesó la noche densa;
 De una en otra armonía
Recorrió la creación escala inmensa 
Hasta llegar al sér que siente y piensa.

 La Música divina 
¿Qué pasión no despierta y no domina?
 Cuando Jubal glorioso 
El arpa de canoras cuerdas hizo, 
En torno sus hermanos le escucharon, 
Y hasta el polvo las frentes inclinaron 
Reverenciando el soberano hechizo. 
Que no menos que un dios imaginaron 
 Guardase aquel portento 
Que les hablaba con tan dulce aliento. 
 La Música divina 
¿Qué pasión no despierta y no domina? 

 Manda bélica trompa 
 Que ya la lid se rompa, 
Y la cólera aviva, y la batalla 
 Cual tempestad estalla. 
El redoblar, el redoblar tremendo 
 De roncos atambores 
Anima á los porfiados lidiadores, 
¡Adelante! ¡adelante! repitiendo.

 Dulcísima consuena 
 La flauta gemidora 
 Con la amorosa pena 
 Del que tímido adora,
 Del que esperanzas llora. 

 Violin sonoro expresa 
 Impetus del que ama

 A desdeñosa dama;
 Los celos de que es presa,
 La rabia que le inflama.

 ¿Mas dónde está la ciencia 
Que enseñe, ó dónde humano digno acento 
Que del órgano diga la excelencia?
Notas graves que santo amor infunden,
 Notas que se difunden 
 En las alas del viento 
Y á afinar van el celestial concento. 
 Con su cítara Orfeo 
Las fieras amansó que el bosque cría, 
 Y el roble giganteo 
Descuajado y absorto le seguía. 
Mas Cecilia alcanzó mayor victoria:
Cuando aliento vocal se dió al teclado, 
Un ángel escuchábala, y pasmado 
Tomó la tierra por mansión de gloria.


Como á impulso de cantos celestiales 
 Nacieron las esferas, 
Y en movimiento acorde placenteras 
 De la Fuerza Creadora 
Cantaron alabanzas inmortales;
 Así cuando la hora 
De final destrucción llegue tremenda, 
Y la trompeta clamorosa hienda

 Los ámbitos desiertos, 
 Despertarán los muertos, 
 Caerán los vivos yertos, 
Y con trueno la Música profundo 
Conmoverá las bóvedas del mundo.

Submitted by Andrew Schneider [Guest Editor]


Based on
  • a text in English by John Dryden (1631 - 1700), written 1687 ENG FRE GER
      • This text was set to music by the following composer(s): Georg Friedrich Händel, David Evan Thomas. Go to the text.

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

    [ None yet in the database ]

Text added to the website: 2019-05-04 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2019-05-04 00:38:37

Line count: 77
Word count: 378