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Dialogue of Cultures

Sing “Va Pensiero”

Anthem of the International
Freedom Movement

Chorus from Verdi’s “Nabucco”

Vocal Score Only
Accompaniment not included

(click here for PDF file)

Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves

Giuseppi Verdi

Italian (original)

Va, pensiero sull'ali dorate
Va, ti posa sui clivi, sui colli,
Ove olezzano tepide e molli
L'aure dolci del suolo natal!

Del Giordano le rive saluta,
Di Sione le torri atterrate...
O, mia patria sì bella e perduta!
O membranza sì cara e fatal!

Arpa d'or dei fatidici vati,
Perchè muta dal salice pendi?
Le memorie nel petto raccendi
Ci favella del tempo che fu!

O simile di Solima ai fati
Traggi un suono di crudo lamento,
O t'ispiri il Signore un concento
Che ne infonda al patire virtù.

English (Schiller Institute translation)

Go, thought, on golden wings
Go, alight on the cliffs, on the hills,
Where there are wafting the warm and gentle
Sweet breezes of our native land.

Greet the Jordan's banks
The fallen towers of Zion....
Oh, my fatherland—so beautiful and so lost!
Oh, remembrance so dear, and fated.

Harp of gold of the prophet bards,
Why do you hang silent, from the willow?
Rekindle the memories in our breast
That speak to us of the time that was.

O [harp], like Jerusalem to the fates,
Draw a sound of harsh lamentation
May the Lord inspire in thee an accord
Which might infuse our suffering with virtù.

Excerpt from Politics As Art, by Lyndon LaRouche

Click here for related articles

In mid June, 2002, as the "American Tories" like Ashcroft, and the Utopian "Clash of Civilizations" faction escalated their push for perpetual war and global fascism, Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr, was honored in Sao Paulo, Brazil, the world's third largest city, with the title of "Citizen of Sao Paulo." At the ceremony, Helga Zepp LaRouche remarked that by this action, "you have contributed to sending a powerful message to the world, as to which America the world really wants."

In describing LaRouche's work to make the world conscious of the fight between the oligarchs, who are only interested in the privileges of a few, versus the true republicans, who are concerned about the well being of the people-- the fight which goes back almost 2,000 to 3,000 years, Mrs. LaRouche said, " Concerning the United States-- there are two Americas: one is the beautiful "beacon of hope and temple of liberty" of the Founding Fathers, of Lincoln, of Martin Luther King, the US tradtition that Mr. LaRouche stands for today. The other one is the tradition of the British empire, of the Confederacy, of slavery and of the idea of dominating the world through world empire."

Dr. Havanir and Helga Zepp LaRouche
How appropriate it is, at this conjunctural crisis, for Americans and patriots in every nation, to learn to sing Giuseppi Verdi's beautiful chorus, "Va Pensiero." The International Schiller Institute began teaching and singing this piece beginning in 1989, when we faced the paradox of seeing Lyndon LaRouche, sitting unjustly imprisoned, after a notorious frame up trial, as freedom movements against tyranny, modelled on our own historical American example, were spreading across the world.

It was on Independence Day, July 4, 1989, that Mr. LaRouche drew our attention to this chorus in a statement written from his jail cell. At that time, he wrote:

"Just as the 18th-century, worldwide American Revolution was an outgrowth of the Italy-centered Golden Renaissance of the 15th-century, so today, our new, global, revolutionary nationalist movement has adopted as a favorite anthem that echo of 15th-century Florence, the prisoners' chorus—'VA PENSIERO'—from Giuseppe Verdi's opera Nabucco."

This is perfectly applicable for the world at this historic moment. Verdi's opera Nabucco was first performed in Italy in March 1842 (and in America in 1846,) and today is still best known for this chorus. At the time of its first performances, the Italian people immediately identified with the chorus, and sang it as the freedom song of the day. (Scroll down for LaRouche's comments.)

The opera is designed by Verdi as a lesson in statecraft, and in the emotional qualities necessary for leadership. Set in Biblical times, (Nabucco is King Nebuchadnezzar) the story deals with the conquest and enslavement of the Hebrews by Nabucco's Babylonian armies - the Hebrews in turn capturing Nabucco's daughter—and in the course of the opera there are power struggles, intrigue, loyalties, betrayals, love, and coups, musically composed with a dramatic tension that was uniquely Verdi's. The "Va Pensiero" chorus is sung by the Hebrew slaves as they await their fate at the hands of the Babylonian tyrants.

In Italy, this song of the patriotic movement, like the African-American spiritual here, was the passionate expression of the commitment to the idea of freedom, reflected in the battle to create a nation-state. Ironically, patriotic Americans, here in the first true Constitutional Republic, find ourselves, as do the citizens of most nations, in a battle to save our own beautiful, but almost lost, country, today.

Join us in mobilizing the cognitive capability and the passions and of our fellow citizens, to regain the soul of the nation and to restore its moral purpose. Our strategy for victory includes using the most universal language in the battle for freedom-- music!

This PDF file includes the text in Italian and English, and the Vocal score only, as written by Verdi, (to be sung at C=256HZ.) You will need to get the piano and/or instrumental score elsewhere. This score is printable, and will enable you to learn, teach, and sing Verdi's "Va Pensiero." A Spanish translation will be online soon.

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Excerpt from
"Politics As Art"

"... If you once come to know the way in which the Classical principle of composition is expressed in such an excellent and profound way by those Spirituals, you should recall that these originated as works of art composed by, and shared among successive generations of cruelly oppressed slaves who were each, at least partially, of African descent. The power of these compositions, which Dvorák, Burleigh, Hayes, and others, have honed to a state of relative perfection, expressed, among those slaves, the same genius inherent in all human beings. Those Spirituals, so honed, have a special power for all, on that account; they should inspire us to recognize, that there is no oppression so efficient, that it can obliterate the fact of the noble quality of humanity, as man and woman made in the image of the Creator, a quality innate to each newborn child.

Lyndon LaRouche and Amelia B. Robinosn
"Typical of the same universal principle, is the celebrated Prisoners' Chorus of Ludwig Beethoven's Fidelio, or the chorus of the slaves, Va Pensiero, from Giuseppe Verdi's Nabucco. The latter chorus became the unofficial national anthem of modern Italy, out of popular recognition of the specific quality of patriotic passion, which that chorus conveys by Classical artistic means. As the case of "Little Boy" illustrates this point best to me, the performances of the repertoire of the Spiritual by Roland Hayes, as by Marion Anderson, set a standard of comparison among those who worked with and followed them, for conveying the Negro Spiritual as a part of the body of mankind's treasure of true Classical art. No respectable musician or Classical actor would disagree.

"The underlying principles expressed by the most successful expressions of great Classical artistic composition, are those expressed in the most concentrated form in Plato's dialogues, and in those forms of modern Classical artistic composition which I have broadly identified above..."

Excerpted from "Politics As Art", by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. in Fidelio, Spring, 2001.

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Related Articles

Revolution in Music Page - links to many articles on music and tuning

Education, Science and Poetry Page (more links)

Chart of the Six Species of the Human Singing Voice

Concert Programs of the Schiller Institute

The Statecraft of G.Verdi: Simon Boccanegra

Verdi: Composer, Republican, and Dramatist

What Is the Schiller Institute?

The LaRouche Case (See the entire section on Exoneration ("Justice")

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