Friday, April 21, 2017

A Found Poem: Idyll in Southern Spain

Fachada de la Real Colegiata de San Hipólito
by Amoluc (?), via Wikimedia Commons
License: CC BY-SA 3.0

Poems can, at times, happen at unexpected places; and despite the tradition of Lieder and more subtle presences of literature in music, it was a surprise when I first leafed through our edition of the Chants d'Espagne by Isaac Albéniz to see the epigraph above "Córdoba."
En el silencio de la noche, que interrumpe el
susurro de las brises aromadas por los
jazmines, suenan las guzlas acompañando las

Serenatas y difundiendo en el aire melodías
ardientes y notas tan dulces como los
balanceos de las palmas en los altos cielos.
Roughly translated: In the stillness of the night, interrupted by the whisper of the breezes scented by jasmine, the gusles* resound, accompanying the serenades and diffusing into the air ardent melodies and notes as soft as the waving of the palms in the high skies.

(German-language Wikipedia: "Gusle")

(Note: In our G. Henle edition, the English translation is rendered so it is the musical notes that are 'in celestial heights' — or, as I put it, 'in the high skies' — and not the swaying palms. But I prefer to persist in my interpretation as it is!)

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