Quelle Sirene delle Sfere:
the symphonic poem of the Commedia
Talk by Piero Mioli
on Dante and music
Ancient scholars believed that celestial bodies—planets, stars and constellations—produced a form of music that mortals could not hear. And Dante, a pilgrim in the afterlife, narrates that, in Paradise, an increasing inward bliss finds its outward expression in light and music. What kind of music? Celestial, ineffable, overwhelming even when instrumental. Bewitching music that can’t be resisted, similar yet different from the song of the Sirens heard by Ulysses. Not so in Purgatory, where Dante hears psalms, hymns and prayers similar to those heard on earth. But what about Dante the man? He knew musicians who set his poems to music, like Casella had done with “Amor che ne la mente mi ragiona” (“Love that converses with me in my mind”). We, too, will “converse”, trying to investigate this truly divine aspect of the Comedy.