This piece draws on texts about immigration, exile, and displacement, taken from three different sources. The first text, from 16th century Nahuatl poetry written shortly after the Spanish Conquest, is about the desolation of war and defeat. The second text, from contemporary Mexican Sephardic writer Homero Aridjis, is about Jewish memories of exile. The third text, from Rosalía de Castro, an 18th century Galician poet, is about the emptiness of lands—and hearts—left behind by those who must immigrate to find work.
Musically, the piece draws on rhythmic notations found in a 15th century Nahuatl Codex, Celtic influences from Galicia (particularly the gaita, or Galician bagpipe), Arabic scales associated with Sephardic music, and on contemporary harmonies and forms. The multi-lingual text combines perspectives from Spain, the New World, and from the Sephardim—three of the same groups whose music is being performed elsewhere in this program, and brings these issues into the present. The placement of the three groups of recorders at different points is reminiscent of the blowing of the conch shells to the four cardinal points before a Nahuatl religious ceremony. The three poems are presented first separately, each with its own melodic and rhythmic character. In the closing section of the piece, they are layered onto each other, weaving together both the texts and the various melodic and rhythmic threads into single question: Will the day return?
Instrumentation: SSAT, recorders, strings, percussion, harpsichord (optional)
¿quen nemiz quen onoz in macevalli?
ca oquitquique in tlilli in tlapalli.
Auh quen onoz in macevalli,
quen maniz in tepetl,
¿Tleh tlatquiz tleh tlamamaz?
¿Tleh tlavicaz tleh tlaotlatoctiz?
¿Tleh machiotl tleh octacatl yez?
¿Tleh ixquitilli yez?
¿Tleh itech pevaloz?
¿Tleh ocutl tleh tavilli mochivaz?
Esta tierra de destierro es el terrón de sal
con que bebo mi sed,
estos ojos que desmiran son mi hambre
Amorrado el amor, amortajado de ti,
mi hoy es tu deshoy, y ambos un desoy.
Estos campos caducos ya no me reconocen,
sombra y desombra se disputan tu cuerpo,
perdido mi lugar no tengo ya asiento en
La luz que me alumbra quema.
Castillo de fuego soy en las plazas del horror,
donde el pueblo menudo viene a ver
el drama del juicio final en mi pasión.
Éste vaise i aquél vaise,
e todos, todos se van.
Galicia, sin homes quedas
que te poidan traballar.
Tes, en cambio, orfos e orfas
e campos de soledad,
e nais que non teñen fillos
e fillos que non tén pais.
E tes corazóns sufren
longas ausencias mortás,
viudas de vivos e mortos
que ninguén consolará.
Will the sun shine? Will it dawn?
How will they live, the ordinary people?
Because it has gone; they have taken the black and the red (the codices)
But how will they exist, the ordinary people?
How will the land, the realm remain?
How will there be stability?
What will govern us, what will guide us?
What will show us the way?
What will be our model?
What will be our measure?
From what point will we begin?
What light will there be?
This land of exile is a lump of salt
from which I sup my own thirst,
these eyes that mis-see are a human
hunger in me.
Love has died, enshrouded in you
my today is your no-day, and in us both, no I-am.
These bygone fields no longer know me,
shadow and unshadow war over your body;
this abode of mine gone, I have no place in
The light that lights my way burns,
A tower of fire am I in the terrifying squares
where commonfolk crowd in to see
the doomsday drama of my passion.
This one goes and that one goes,
and all of them, all of them go away;
Galicia, you are left without men
able to work your soil.
You have, instead orphaned boys and girls
and fields of solitude,
and mothers who have no sons
and sons who have no father.
And you have hearts that suffer
long deathly absences,
widows of the living as well as of the dead
who cannot be consoled.