Questa fiamma


Questa fiamma ("This Flame") is the prelude of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, my rhapsody for high voice and orchestra which I adapted from the poem by T.S. Eliot and composed for Metropolitan Opera soprano Danielle Talamantes.

The text consists of six lines from Dante's Inferno, which Eliot uses as an epigraph for his poem. In the epigraph, the condemned soul of Guido da Montefeltro—now a tongue of flame in the eighth circle of hell— agrees to confess what he knows to Dante, mistakenly assuming it would be impossible for Dante to betray his confession to the world of the living.

Sung in the original Italian, the epigraph is musically rendered as a sarabande, a slow, stately dance in triple meter. It is a prelude to the dramatic monologue that follows in which Prufrock, the protagonist of Eliot's poem, reveals with equal candor the burdens of his unmet desire.

I arranged this version with piano accompaniment especially for recital programming.

To learn more about The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock: A Rhapsody for Voice and Orchestra, click here.

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S`io credesse che mia risposta fosse 
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo, 
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse. 
Ma perciocchè giammai di questo fondo 
Non tornò vivo alcun, s'i'odo il vero, 
Senza tema d'infamia ti rispondo. 


If I thought my answer was 
To a person returning to the world, 
This flame would cease to flicker. 
But since from this abyss 
No one ever returns alive, if what I hear is true, 
Without fear of disgrace, I respond to you. 

Dante Alighieri, 1265 - 1321  
Inferno, Canto XXVII, Verses 61-66

QUESTA FIAMMA by Henry Dehlinger

3 minutes


American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP)

High Voice & Piano
High Voice & Orchestra (In full score of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

Digital & Print: J.W. Pepper