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Nigra sum

  • Category / Instrument : Soprano, cornett and organ
  • Duration : 7'30
  • Genre : contemporary
  • Sortiment : Score
  • Number of pages : 3 x 6
  • Format : 35,3 x 25 cm
  • Publisher : Lemoine
  • Code : 29104
  • Published : 16/09/2012
  • ISBN / ISMN : 9790230991049


16/09/2012 - Orp Le Grand (Belgium), Eglise - Alice Foccroulle (soprano), Lambert Colson (cornetto), Bernard Foccroulle (organ)


This piece is part of a composition cycle for ancient organs. It is meant for a soprano voice and a cornetto (cornet à bouquin), favorite instrument of the Renaissance music and of the early baroque period, often considered the closest to human voice.
This piece was written for a meantone temperament (eight perfect thirds), which is also the temperament in which the cornetto naturally sounds the best. A slightly modified meantone temperament can also be suitable.
Ideally, the organ should have two keyboards. However, a version for one keyboard should not be excluded. The indication of dynamics and registration are to be interpreted freely depending on the instrument, and of the balance with the voice. The organ switches between the resonance and soloist functions, almost always in duo with the cornetto. The organist will make sure not to cover the voice and instead will look to merge with it.
The text comes from the Song of Songs. Music was often made from it and Monteverdi used it in a famous motet for tenor and basso continuo in Il Vespro della Beata Vergine.
The premiere of Nigra Sum took place on September 16, 2012, on Thomas d'Orp-le-Grand's organ, an instrument inspired by the 17th Century Franco-Flemish craftsmanship. The artists were Alice Foccroulle, soprano, Lambert Colson, cornetto, and the composer at keyboards.

Bernard Foccroulle

Latin Text
Nigra sum sed formosa filiae Jerusalem
Ideo dilexit me Dominus
Et introduxit in cubiculum suum
Et dixit mihi: surge amica mea et veni.
Jam hiems transiit, imber abiit et recessit,
Flores apparuerunt in terra nostra,
Tempus putationis advenit.

French translation
Je suis noire mais je suis belle, filles de Jérusalem.
Aussi le roi m'a-t-il aimée
et conduite dans ses appartements,
et il m'a dit : lève-toi, mon amie, et viens.
L'hiver enfin s'en est allé, la pluie nous quitte et s'éloigne,
les fleurs ont fait leur apparition sur la terre,
le temps de la taille est venu.

English translation
I am dark-skinned but comely, daughters of Jerusalem,
Therefore have I pleased the Lord
And he has brought me into his chamber
And said to me: arise my love and come.
For now the winter is past, the rain is over and gone,
The flowers have appeared in our land,
The time of pruning is come.


1 CD Aeon, AE1440
Toccata - Kolorierte Floten - Nigra sum - O quam pulchra es - Capriccio sopra re-fa-mi-sol - Spiegel (Praeambulum, Vita dulceco, Ad te suspiramus, Et Jesum, O pia, Pro fine) - Salve Regina (Salve Regina, Ad te clamamus, Eia ergo, advocata nostra, O clemens, O dulcis Maria)
Bernard Foccroulle (organ)
Alice Foccroulle (soprano)
Lambert Colson (cornetto)




Bernard Foccroulle was born in Liège in 1953. He embarked on an international career as an organist in the mid 1970s, performing a vast repertoire stretching from the Renaissance to the contemporary era. He gave dozens of world premiere performances of composers such as Philippe Boesmans, Brian Ferneyhough, [...]


    • Création Mondiale
    • 19.09.2019
    • L'uscita dall' inferno
    • Liège (Belgium)
    • Eglise Saint Jacques
    • Ensemble InAlto, Bernard Foccroulle (org), Lambert Colson (cond.)
    • Création Mondiale
    • 09.08.2017
    • E vidi quattro stelle
    • Bruges (Belgium)
    • MaFestival, Sint Gilliskerk
    • Ensemble inAlto

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