ERC Presents: Canto II

The Abbey Boys keep plugging along with their recordings of Orlando Furioso.  The rate of progress is comical, unless you already know Abbey Boys.  Then it’s not surprising that a weekend task takes six months.  But it beats doing homework!

If they keep this up they will get pretty good by the time they graduate.  The ERC nerds experimented a little with scoring the recitation and tantalized me with an ultimately disappointing promise of a “drop” (as in, “Wait for the…”).  One day I’ll score a student-artist willing to do 6-10 drawings of the scenes of a canto for a text-and-slide show on YT or something.

Anyway, enjoy the fruit of their labors:


Rose Punts??

Not sure how I could have missed this after five or ten re-reads, but the ERC nerds spotted what seems to be a blatant punt in Rose’s translation of Orlando Furioso (XIII.7).

When him I after in the field espied,
Performing wondrous feats of chivalry,
I was surprised by Love, ere I descried
That freedom in my Love, so rash a guide,
I lay this unction to my phantasy,
That no unseemly place my heart possest,
Fixed on the worthiest in the world and best.

But Mr. Alspaugh, Mr. Alspaugh!  I thought Orlando Furioso was composed in ottava rima!  Doesn’t ottava mean eight?

Erk.  Yes.  Rose has omitted line four, the second b rhyme.  Good heavens, man, why?  To the textual criticism we go!

What follows is an epic misadventure leading to greater knowledge.   Continue reading Rose Punts??

ERC: Rhyming Furioso

A mortifying experience at the most recent gathering of the Epic Recitation Club.  Caveat lector: the punch line may be a bit more crude than some audiences would find appealing.

Normally when we are reciting Orlando Furioso, I am absorbed in the story and thinking about what to comment on after each stanza (or so).  It’s usually either a story reminder, a clarification of tone, or the meaning of archaisms.

My bright boys, however, have an unusual capacity for focusing on the rhyming scheme of the stanza.  Perhaps they are just looking ahead at their stanza in anticipation, but they catch the slant rhymes and outright oofs! that Rose makes in his translation.  They delight in exaggerating their delivery to underscore the deviations from standard pronunciation.

A trivial example from XII.5, to illustrate: Continue reading ERC: Rhyming Furioso

Return of the ERC: Magical Villa

That nerdiest of Abbey Boy adventures, the Epic Recitation Club, has made its triumphant return.  Well, more like under-the-radar, since we have somehow managed to get left off the official roster of clubs each year for a while now.  But the boys hold me hostage each Friday after school once again and our slow plod through the poem resumes.

The officers have taken it upon themselves to get us organized in a way that is both admirable and absurd.  Not wanting to haggle each week over “how far did we get last time?” they have created a Schoology page for the club, appointed administrators, and added members.  It took about 30 minutes of our meeting time a few weeks ago to set it up.

The only use of this web page, I stress, is to have an update box on the front page where they can write down which canto/stanza we stop at each week.  That’s right, the smartest boys in the Washington, D.C. area are using satellites and servers in place of a bookmark. Continue reading Return of the ERC: Magical Villa

Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Bradamante

Sacripant I, Pinabel II, Melissa and Merlin III, Brunello and Atlantes IV, Return to Melissa VII, Magical Villa XIII, Kills Pinabel XXII, Astolpho XXIII, Lovesick XXX, Tristram’s Tower XXXII, Rodomonte and Arles XXXV, Aristeia XXXVI, Marganor XXXVII, Return to Charlemagne XXXVIII, Broken Truce XXXIX, Awaiting Rogero XLII, Wedding Controversy XLIV, Marriage Contest XLV, Wedding XLVI (name drop X, XI, XIV, XX, XXIV, XXV, XXVI, XL, XLI, )

Daughter of Aymon and Beatrice, Sister of Rinaldo, Twin Sister of Richardetto, Cousin of Orlando and Astolpho, Peer of Charlemagne, True Love of Rogero, Co-Founder of the d’Este Family Line

Coat of Arms: White

Classical Type: Athena


Overpowered Proto-feminist Establishes Mad Cred for the Family Paying Ariosto’s Dime

Summary: Continue reading Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Bradamante

Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Gabrina

With Isabel in Cave XII, Flees XIII, Marphisa and Zerbino XX, Hermonides XXI, Pinabel Frame-up XXIII, Death XXIV

Wife of Argaeus of Servia, Archenemy of Hermonides of Holland, Slain by Odoric

Classical Type:

The Evil Queen Bavmorda


Eeeeeevil Woman Hangs Around Way Too Long, Finally Gets Her Due

Summary: Continue reading Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Gabrina

ERC Presents: Orlando Furioso

Well it only took five months, but at long last there is a publicly-accessible audio version of Orlando Furioso, Canto I!

This is a purely student-driven project.  After I gave them the idea to do it, all technical and organizational matters were in the hands of the ERC (Epic Recitation Club) Nerds.  I merely mocked them as the weeks and months dragged on for what could have been a one week project.

There were hilarious snafus along the way, and at least one recording got left out/written over (sorry, Philip!).  In my extremely biased opinion, the flaws enhance the beauty…much like all student work.  Our Lead Technical Director, Fred, ends up carrying quite a few of the stanza blocks.  Otherwise, the voices should rotate every ten stanzas (80 lines).

Dreams remain: more cantos, illustrations, musical accompaniment, YouTube videos.  One of our fair number insists that we try to monetize the thing.  But today is a day for repose in the completed act, even as the creators toil away at their final exams.

Without further ado, St. Anselm’s Abbey School ERC Nerds present:

Orlando Furioso: Real History?

A brave soul recently queried me: are Rinaldo and Orlando real or fictional heroes?  The answer is “Yes.”

To be clear, Orlando Furioso is history as it should have happened.  I prefer to live in a world where Charlemagne did in fact repel the combined armies of every Muslim kingdom ever with mounted heavy cavalry in full plate armor.  Naturally the magical swords are real as well, and Hector’s sword is still mightily potent despite being 2000 years old.  When I Google “Siege of Paris” I am puzzled to find no mention of this most momentous of battles for civilization.

Well, enough of my odd views of history and the real.  In the boring world of “real” history, how to answer this question? Continue reading Orlando Furioso: Real History?

Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Rinaldo

Chasing Bayardo and Duel with Ferrau I, Duel with Sacripant and duped to Paris II,  Scotland IV, Rescues Dalinda and saves Genevra V and VI, Raising armies VIII, Comes to Paris with the aid of Silence XIV, Counter-attack against Agramant XVI,  Kills Dardinello and breaks siege XVIII, Leaves to find Angelica XXVII, Returns to Paris with all his family XXX, Fights Guido and scatters Agramant’s army XXXI, Fights Gradasso XXXIII, Chosen as Champion XXXVIII, Fights Rogero XXXIX, Journeys east to find Gradasso XLII, Travels Italy to Lampedusa XLIII, Tries to arrange marriage of Rogero and Bradamante XLIV, Marriage conflict XLV, Finale XLVI

Son of Duke Aymon and Beatrice, Prince and Castellain of Mount Alban, Cousin of Orlando, Brother of Bradamante and Richardetto, Unrequited Lover of Angelica, Hero of the Siege of Paris, Champion of Charlemagne’s Army

Coat of Arms: ? Wields the magical sword Fusberta and rides the Alfana-bred Bayardo

Classical Types: Hector

TLDR: The Superknight Who Still Does His Duty


We first meet Rinaldo chasing through the woods looking for his lost horse, Bayardo.  The intelligent horse leads him on to Angelica and duels with Ferrau and later Sacripant.  A perverted sorcerer-hermit dupes Rinaldo into thinking Angelica has gone to Paris with Orlando, but when he arrives he finds only Charlemagne tapping his foot impatiently. Continue reading Orlando Furioso Cast of Characters: Rinaldo