For so he giveth his beloved sleep

Vivaldi’s “Cum dederit” from the Nisi Dominus always reminds me of a certain song  — “Teardrop”, by Massive Attack. You might know it, as it was used as a title song for the TV-series House MD.

For those not familiar with the pieces, here are some samples.

Cum dederit — Philippe Jaroussky 2008

Cum dederit — Michael Chance 2011

Massive Attack — Teardrop

For the song “Teardrop”  — a wonderful song, really — the bass drum used is the sound taken from of a pregnancy check-up of the singer, as far as I heard, and was slowed down of  a good deal. Surely almost every mother who was able to visit a doctor during her pregnancy is still familiar with this, it is called Fetal Doppler. (It is not the actual sound of the heart beating you are hearing, but another acoustic output is created to align with the fetal heartbeat.)

But what is more important — babies can hear from the 8th week of pregnancy on, but most probably realize the rhythm of the mothers breath, heartbeat and movements even before that.

From then on, until time of birth when it’s really worthwhile looking around for the first time (with a very limited field of vision, limited to the closest surroundings for a while) — this is a long time with almost only audio, isn’t it? When it’s suddenly gone, this must be a confusing experience.

Maybe our desire and need for rhythm — which is closely related to logic, as with a rhythm, you are able to make a prediction about the near future — comes from this long time of a heartbeat and a regular breath surrounding us. Rhythm is what puts order into chaos, and makes us distinguish music from noise (with some artistic exceptions maybe.)

I like the different interpretations of the “Cum dederit“; Jaroussky’s gives the impression of a deep R.E.M.-sleep, as surely the violins that Spinosi has playing in a pianissimo that makes the sound already brittle  has something irresistible alluring and sensual, paired with this driving slow heartbeat underneath.

Chance’s version more gives the impression of a troubled sleep. There is a CD version where it even more does this — but of course, associations to music differ greatly from person to person. That’s maybe part of my joy in talking about music — two people can like the very same thing, but for completely different reasons, and can have even opposing associations.

For me, it seems almost obscene to play this piece in a church; it is very sensual indeed to say the least.

When do we ever hear another’s heartbeat as an adult? When we are very close to each other, and all is silent, and only then. Maybe that’s why.

But then, the Catholics even canonized St.Therese and Beata Ludovica Albertoni.

Beata Ludovica Albertoni  -- Bernini

Nisi Dominus, RV 608;
Antonio Vivaldi

Cum dederit dilectis suis somnum.
Ecce haereditas Domini.
Filii merces fructus ventris.

From Psalm 127

1     Except the LORD build the house,           
they labor in vain that build it:
except the LORD keep the city,
the watchman waketh but in vain.
2     It is vain for you to rise up early,           
to sit up late,
to eat the bread of sorrows:
for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
3     Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD:           
and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
4     As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man;           
so are children of the youth.
5     Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them:           
they shall not be ashamed,
but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

Massive Attack

Love love is a verb
Love is a doing word
Fearless on my breath
Gentle impulsion
Shakes me makes me lighter
Fearless on my breath

Teardrop on the fire
Fearless on my breath

Night night of matter
Black flowers blossom
Fearless on my breath
Black flowers blossom
Fearless on my breath

Teardrop on the fire
Fearless on my breath

Water is my eye
Most faithful mirror
Fearless on my breath
Teardrop on the fire of a confession
Fearless on my breath
Most faithful mirror
Fearless on my breath

Teardrop on the fire
Fearless on my breath

you’re stumbling into
you’re stumbling into


8 thoughts on “For so he giveth his beloved sleep

  1. Forgive me, I just ran through the post and will return to it at a later point, but I wanted to say I LOVE FRANKFURT! And Germany is such a cool country. And I love Frankfurt. And women are so cute, and people are so good looking, and and and and and and and and.

  2. Ooooh, very kind of you to say. Well, Frankfurt varies a great deal. When you arrive at the station (Not Frankfurt Airport, but the other), you think at times you arrived in purgatory. If you go just a few streets further, it is great though. There are lots of really nice places.
    Frankfurt is famous/notorious for a really exuberant party scene, and gay scene as well. The most famous place to be, the Dorian Gray (which was occupying a whole story of the old airport structure) has closed in 2000, but I’m sure someone can give you hints of places you should have seen — apart from the official ones, like the opera ofc. and others.
    This is in German, but there’s google translate, and our everyday language is quite angli-fied, so I think you won’t have a big problem. There are loads of links and the page seems to be recently updated.
    This is a calender of events

    Oh, and… I just looked it up, Frankfurt has a percentage of 24,3% of “foreigners”, according to the latest census (About as much as Stuttgart). And this is only counting the citizens with a foreign passport. So, what you perceive as good-looking Germans — hell, yeah, I totally approve of other nationalities coming here to enrich the dreary German gene-pool 😀
    (Total population is 680.000)

    Rang↓ Staat↓ Bevölkerung
    (31. Dezember 2008)↓
    1. Türkei 30.372
    2. Italien 13.528
    3. Kroatien 11.656
    4. Serbien 9.839
    5. Polen 9.221
    6. Griechenland 6.116
    7. Marokko 5.851
    8. Bosnien und Herzegowina 5.099
    9. Spanien 4.432
    10. Portugal 3.423
    11. Frankreich 3.322
    12. Japan 2.746
    13. USA 2.742
    14. Österreich 2.556
    15. Indien 2.477
    16. Großbritannien 2.453
    17. Rumänien 2.440
    18. Afghanistan 2.321
    19. Russland 2.281
    20. Bulgarien 2.226

  3. Hm? are you sure? Maybe there are more — I don’t know how it is in other countries, here the gay and lesbian community are mostly quite separated from each other, (just telling from my limited experiences). There are some places with a rather mixed audience though, especially some cafés. But I cannot tell for Frankfurt, as little as Stuttgart in fact, where I never went out much.
    But do tell me of your experiences, at any rate it sounds good 😀

  4. According to their gay magazine (called Gab, which I picked up), there’s only one purely Lesben, but a few mixed environments and many many gay men places.

    I didn’t go — I was too tired on Friday after another Medee — but managed to take a picture of the door sign. I’ll post it somewhere.

    Mein Gott, I think it’s coming up to 36 hours that I’ve barely had any sleep. Need to get my ass to bed pronto.

  5. Haha… Do if you can 😉 And btw I should have taken a picture as well. Of my bf’s facial expression when I told him that you said Frankfurt was a lovely place 😀

  6. Well the fame can be vaguely summarized in: “Funny dialect, population either bank-geeks or junkies. Oh, and a nice opera!” But Frankfurt is surely more than that. I quite liked it when I’ve been there, even if I didn’t have much spare time to spend back then.

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