Matona, mia cara – Orlando di Lasso

This piece, written by Orlando di Lasso has a length of nearly 3 minutes and stays in a moderate tempo throughout. It is written for a major key, which is being kept throughout, mostly arranged homophonic and the volume stays within a medium range too.

Due to the key signature and tempo, the composition has a nice sounding, happy, but also warm character. The structure is built up by the combination of always one verse and one phrase where the singers are just singing the syllable “don”.

Really interesting in terms of that structure is, that every first half of one stanza (put together by one half with meaningful lyrics and the other half with the  syllable “don”), is always different, not only in text but also in  the melody it self, whereas the “don”-parts always stay the same.

The italian textphrases were translated into the following:

My lovely Lady, I want a song to sing
Under your window: this lancer is jolly fellow!
Don don don, diri diri don don don don.

Please listen to me, because I’m singing well
And I’m as fond of you as a Greek is of a capon!
Don don don, diri diri don don don don.

When I go hunting, I hunt with the falcon,
And I’ll bring you a woodcock, as fat as a kidney
Don don don, diri diri don don don don.

I cannot tell you many elegant things,
I know nothing of Petrarch, nor the Fountain of Helicon
Don don don, diri diri don don don don.

If you’ll love me I won’t be lazy
I will f*ck all night long, I will thrust like a ram
Don don don, diri diri don don don don. (1)

(One should excuse inappropriate words).

Suiting the text, as already mentioned, the piece sounds really cheery and warm.

Initially it reminded me of a classical Christmas carol, I am surprised that the composition comes from the baroque-epoch. This piece, too, is one of only a few coming from the 16/17th century, that I really enjoyed listening too. The always changing phrases kept it interesting and less monotonous, whereas the “don” parts kept it all together really well.

(1)Gibb, J (2019). Matona, mia cara (Orlando di Lasso) [online] Choralwiki. Available at;,_mia_cara_(Orlando_di_Lasso)