Free from the barriers of time, this London-based ensemble of early music specialists transports audiences to Europe’s past in concerts that blur the edges between performer, audience, and art form. Ensemble Tempus Fugit regularly breaks the fourth wall to deliver engaging, informed performances on period instruments.
One of Purcell and d’Urfey’s best breakup songs, ‘Let the dreadful engines’ from Don Quixote (1694-1695) shifts through nearly every phase of grief as poor Cardenio unavoidably thinks of his fair and supposedly unfaithful Luscinda.
Someone get this man a drink.
Let the dreadful engines of eternal will,
The thunder roar and crooked lightning kill,
My rage is hot as theirs, as fatal too,
And dares as horrid execution do.
Or let the frozen North its rancour show,
Within my breast far greater tempests grow;
Despair’s more cold than all the winds can blow.
Can nothing, nothing warm me?
Yes, yes, Lucinda’s eyes.
There Etna, there,
There, there Vesuvio lies,
To furnish Hell with flames
That mounting reach the skies.
Ye powers, I did but use her name,
And see how all the meteors flame;
Blue lightning flashes round the court of Sol,
And now the globe more fiercely burns
Than once at Phaeton’s fall.
Ah, where are now those flow’ry groves
Where Zephyr’s fragrant winds did play?
Where guarded by a troop of Loves,
The fair Lucinda sleeping lay:
There sung the nightingale and lark,
Around us all was sweet and gay;
We ne’er grew sad till it grew dark,
Nor nothing feared but short’ning day.
I glow, I glow – but ’tis with hate
Why must I burn for this ingrate?
Cool, cool it then and rail,
Since nothing, nothing will prevail.
When a woman love pretends,
‘Tis but till she gains her ends,
And for better and for worse
Is for marrow of the purse,
Where she jilts you o’er and o’er,
Proves a slattern or a whore,
This hour will tease and vex,
And will cuckold ye the next,
They were all contrived in spite,
To torment us, not delight;
But to scold and scratch and bite,
And not one of them proves right,
But all, all are witches by this light.
And so I fairly bid ‘em, and the world, Good Night.