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1st movement: Epitafio para Teresa
2nd movement: Epitafio para Quevedo
3rd movement: Epitafio para Borges
4th movement: Epitafio para Machado
Duration: 28 mins.

Epitafios is based on excerpts from texts by 4 great poets of the Spanish language: Teresa de Avila, Francisco Quevedo, Jorge Luis Borges and Antonio Machado. In the third movement I compiled phrases written by Borges into a text of my own.

Each movement or epitaph describes the way in which each poet regarded life and death, and in this sense the texts are concerned with their individual trajectories and search for meaning in life.

At the musical level the piece also describes a series of trajectories which act to some extent as metaphors for the ones in the texts.
I developed rhythmic trajectories based on rhythmic pulses that trigger each other in different directions, and timbral trajectories based on the transformation of the colour (spectrum) of the choir into the timber of different tam-tams and gongs.
The enormous difference in density between a choir and a tam-tam or gong allows for a large number of different possible trajectories.
It is in these different ways of transforming (interpolating) one sound mass into the other that I sough the dramatic development of the piece, which I feel corresponds in some way to the drama in the texts.

Epitafios was jointly commissioned by the The New London Chamber Choir and I.R.C.A.M., Paris. I wish to thank Carl Faia for his invaluable contribution towards the production of Epitafios during my work at IRCAM.


fragments from Vivo sin vivir en mí, by Santa Teresa de Ávila
Vivo sin vivir en mí,
y de tal manera espero,
que muero porque no muero.
Venga ya la dulce muerte,
el morir venga ligero,
que muero porque no muero. .
¡Ay, qué larga es esta vida!
¡Qué duros estos destierros.
Muerte no te tardes que te espero.
I live not living within,
and such is my awaiting,
that I am dying to die.
May sweet death come to me,
and hasten its steps,
that I am dying to die.
Oh! How long is this life !
How hard is this uprooting !
Death don’t be long that I am waiting.
fragment from a psalm by Francisco de Quevedo
Pasa veloz del mundo la figura,
y la muerte los pasos apresura; ,
la vida nunca para, .
ni el Tiempo vuelve atráz la anciana cara. .

So quickly the world hurries past,
so quickly we don’t see its face,
Always death on the heals of life.
Never time for time to look back.

Translated by Craig Raine

poem by Alejandro Viñao in the style and ‘voice’ of Jorge Luis Borges
Somos tiempo,
somos sueño,
o el sueño que el tiempo soño, somos un rio,
todos los rios, ,
una imagen que cambia en el agua ,
una sombra en el espejo. .
Somos memoria ,
y la memoria
de un fuego que se extingue. .
Somos (soy) lo que se pierde
no lo que reposa,
lo cercano que se aleja
somos esa queja
que busca que algo quede. .

we are time,
we are a dream,
or a dream dreamt by time,
we are a river,
we are all rivers,
reflexions which change with the water,
shadows in the mirror.
We are memory itself,
the memory
of fire and a fading coal.
We are (I am) what is lost
not what remains,
what is part of us, yet parting from us:
we are the cry
that cries that something should remain.

Translated by Craig Raine

fragment from a poem by Antonio Machado
Caminante no hay camino,
Se hace camino al andar.
walker there is no path,
you make the path as you go.