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 fuego.
A un paso de la abierta sepultura,
había rosas de podridos pétalos,
entre geranios de áspera fragancia
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 La Noria.
The Burial of a Friend
They gave him to earth one horrible afternoon
In July, under a burning sun.
One step from the open hole
roses lay with rotting petals,
geraniums with red flowers
and pungent fragrance. The sky
clear and blue. A strong
and dry wind was blowing.
let the coffin hang there
heavily on its fat ropes
and then settle to the bottom.
And when it got there it made a loud thump
soberly in the silence.
The sound of the coffin hitting earth
is a sound utterly serious.
Dry lumps of dirt
break on the black box…
A whitish breath
rose from the deep hole, and the wind took it.
And 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 resolve.
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 "friend."
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 area.
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