Wednesday 17 August 2005

Lost in Translation

I am currently putting finishing touches to the 3 motets which I originally wrote in manuscript, without aid of computer or keyboard, whilst away. One is the Introit for the 5th Sunday in Lent, Judica Me and the other 2 are an antiphon and a responsory for Palm Sunday. Having written the first in English and the latter 2 in Latin (because I did not have translations to hand) I am now in the process of creating the parallel versions so that each motet exists in English and Latin. This is a tricky process, rather akin to writing crosswords. Sometimes things fall out beautifully, but at other times there is such a mis-match between English and Latin that a major re-write is called for. I want each version to flow naturally without seeming like a translation, so there is much fiddling about with stresses; trying not to lose the main elements of the motet. In one passage in Judica me, when Latinising the English I have had to be at great pains to preserve the triplet/duplet opposition in one passage, when the Latin lent itself more to simple duplets with no triplets.

I am also becoming horribly aware that I have been rather inconsistent in my English version, lurching between modern-ish English and King James-esque. In one of the Palm Sunday pieces, I have just noticed that I use Blessed is he that cometh, but stick to you, rather than thou. I can see that much tidying up will be required.

I've taken a quick look at my Liber (which I brought home from Church after the Tridentine Mass on Saturday) and once through Holy Week, I will have a substantial part of Volume 2 done. The problem is that Tempus Paschale goes on rather a long time afterwards. I can see me missing my Autumn deadline for the completion of this Volume of Tempus per Annum. Ho-hum.

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