Viola part from Reliquary of Sacred Music - Handel, G. - Merciful God 'Largo' from Serse - for Soprano & String Quartet arr. by Gerald Manning

4 minutes
Classical music


Text: E.S. Palmer (1856-1931): Text adapted from �Jesu, Son of Mary� Music: George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

The Italian musical term �Largo� has come to be associated with the opening aria of Handel�s opera Xerxes or Serse. Known originally as �Ombra mai fu� in the opera which translates from the Italian as �Shade there never was� it is sung by the main character, Xerxes or (Serse) in praise of a tree�s shade as he sits underneath it. The opera was a commercial failure, but the aria was rediscovered and has become one of Handel�s best-known and popular pieces. It has undergone a number of transformations in arrangements which include those for solo piano, violin and piano, and groups of strings (my own string quartet arrangement being one of them), and in this arrangement I have used E.S. Palmer�s text which is adapted from �Jesu, Son of Mary�, and set it for soprano and string quartet.

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