Sheet Music: When I am laid in earth

TitleWhen I am laid in earth
from Dido and Aeneas
Alternate titlesDido's Lament
Opus numberZ. 626
ComposerHenry Purcell (1659–1695)
InstrumentationFlute and Piano
KeyG minor
RangeF#4–G5
Time signature3/2
Tempo56 BPM
Performance time2:25
Difficulty leveleasy
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (92 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (2.1 MB)
Play-along accompanimentMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (2.1 MB)
Date added2011-01-20
Last updated2011-01-20
Download popularity index☆☆☆☆☆ 0.7 (below average)
Categories
Arias, Baroque, Opera excerpts

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Thursday 20 January 2011

Tune of the Day: Dido's Lament

from “Dido and Aeneas” by Henry Purcell, arranged for Flute and Piano

A monumental work in Baroque opera, Purcell's Dido and Aeneas is among the first English operas. Its first known performance took place in London no later 1688. The story is based on Virgil's Aeneid, and recounts the love story of Dido, Queen of Carthage and the Trojan hero Aeneas, and her despair at his abandonment of her.

What is most remarkable about this work is Dido's death aria, "When I am laid in earth", arguably one of the most beautiful opera arias ever written. Also known as Dido's Lament, the piece opens with a descending chromatic line, which is repeated eleven times throughout the aria. For this reason, Dido's Lament is included in many classical music textbooks for its exemplary use of ground bass.

Thanks to Sam for suggesting this piece!