Monday, November 7, 2011

Poem of the Day

I learned many new (and old) things at this weekend's National Collegiate Choral Organization's conference in Fort Collins, Colorado, but there a few things that have stuck with me:

1) Charlene Archibeque's Conducting Panel discussion;
2) Helmuth Rilling's rehearsal with the CSU's Chamber Choir (singing Bach's motets: Singet dem Herrn and Jesu, meine Freude); and
3) this poem, found in Lauridsen's Nocturnes, sung beautifully by the USC Chamber Singers, conducted by Jo-Michael Scheibe.

Watching them brought back fond memories of singing with such a sophisticated group, but more important was how this text caught me off guard.  I've sung these pieces before, but I either ignored the text or was too busy singing the notes to notice how unbelievably stunning this poem is.  It also made me realize once again -- as did Alice Parker's lovely speech about the power of vocal music -- how lucky we are to have two of the most sophisticated forms of communication as our primary vehicle through which we convey our emotions.

Soneto de la Noche

Cuando yo muero quiero tus manos en mis ojos:
When I die, I want your hands upon my eyes: 
quiero la luz y el trigo de tus manos amadas
I want the light and the wheat of your beloved hands
pasar una vez más sobre mí su frescura:
to pass their freshness over me one more time 
sentir la suavidad que cambió mi destino.
I want to feel the gentleness that changed my destiny. 

Quiero que vivas mientras yo, dormido, te espero,
I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep,
quiero que tus oídos sigan oyendo el viento,
I want your ears to still hear the wind, 
que huelas el aroma del mar que amamos juntos
I want you to smell the scent of the sea we both loved, 
y que sigas pisando la arena que pisamos.
and to continue walking on the sand we walked on. 

Quiero que lo que amo siga vivo
I want all that I love to keep on living, 
y a ti te amé y canté sobre todas las cosas,
and you whom I loved and sang above all things 
por eso sigue tú floreciendo, florida,
To keep flowering into full bloom. 

para que alcances todo lo que mi amor te ordena,
so that you can touch all that my love provides you, 
para que se pasee mi sombra por tu pelo,
so that my shadow may pass over your hair, 
para que así conozcan la razón de mi canto.
so that all may know the reason for my song. 

- Pablo Neruda, trans. Nicholas Lauridsen

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