En El Entierro de Un Amigo - (2008)
for tenor and piano
for Douglas Duno
Tierra le dieron una tarde horrible
del mes de julio, bajo el sol de
A un paso de la abierta sepultura,
había rosas de podridos pétalos,
entre geranios de áspera
y roja flor. El cielo
puro y azul. Corría
un aire fuerte y seco.
De los gruesos cordeles suspendido,
pesadamente, descender hicieron
el ataúd al fondo de la fosa
los dos sepultureros...
Y al reposar sonó con recio golpe,
solemne, en el silencio.
Un golpe de ataúd en tierra es algo
Sobre la negra caja se rompían
los pesados terrones polvorientos...
El aire se llevaba
de la honda fosa el blanquecino aliento.
?Y tú, sin sombra ya, duerme y reposa,
larga paz a tus huesos...
duerme un sueño tranquilo y verdadero.
[ 5 pages, circa 5' 30" ]
For more information on Antonio Machado, please see
The Burial of a Friend
They gave him to earth one horrible afternoon
In July, under a burning
One step from the open hole
roses lay with rotting petals,
geraniums with red flowers
and pungent fragrance. The sky
blue. A strong
and dry wind was blowing.
the coffin hang there
heavily on its fat ropes
and then settle to the
And when it got there it made a loud thump
soberly in the
The sound of the coffin hitting earth
is a sound utterly
Dry lumps of dirt
break on the black box…
rose from the deep hole, and the wind took it.
you, with no shadow now, sleep and be at rest;
deep peace to your bones…
It is final now,
sleep your untroubled and true dream.”
Translation, courtesy of Professor Douglas Duno
The structural theme of the work is the "pendulum" between D flat major with
its added major seventh and D flat minor with a minor seventh, then
decorated above with chords adding yet further the major or minor sixth of
the scale. The minor suggests one emotional response to the graveside
setting, and major the contrasting as images which relieve the oppression
rise and fall against the more somber setting. The long-lined 4/2 meter
extends the tension across psychological time as these static chords do not
As the image of the "pure, blue sky" come to mind, the meter compacts to a
3/2, and the tonal domain bides a while on the major. As the image of the
gravediggers and the chords which suspend the coffin for a while return, the
minor mode reappears.
The final text becomes prayerful, and the tonality remains in the major mode
and the mensural period of the accompanying chords shortens from four to
three and thence to two as an image of tranquility is offered up to the lost
This setting and other Spanish art songs come to be through the kind
assistance of Douglas Duno. Professor Douglas José Duno Guerrero was born in
the Paraguaná Peninsula in Venezuela where he began his higher education
studies. He earned his B.A. in Spanish from California State, Fullerton; and
M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside his dissertation
highlighting works by Spanish Female Playwrights of the Twentieth Century.
He began to teach at Chaffey College in 1998, is coordinator of the Modern
Language Department there, and has taught and created different courses from
beginning Spanish to literature courses. Duno is the president of the Inland
Empire Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and
Portuguese, an active member of Modern Language Association, California
Language Teachers Association, and Inland Empire Teachers of Foreign
Languages among others. He initiated the language program with Cuernavaca,
Mexico and supports the various study abroad programs in the college. Duno
sings tenor with the Claremont Chorale as well as for several churches in
The score for En El Entierro de Un Amigo is available as a free PDF
download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work
is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the
graphic below for this piano-vocal score.
En El Entierro de Un Amigo