Canciónes de desamor

for medium-high voice and orchestra (or piano) (2016)



Duration: 12 min.

Cecilia M. Castillo

May 3rd, 2016
Jessen Auditorium at the University of Texas at Austin
Daniel Castillo, tenor & Hsin-Hsuan Lin, piano

November 6th, 2016
Bates Hall at the University of Texas at Austin
Daniel Castillo, tenor & the UT Lab Orchestra with Nicholas Perry Clark, conductor

1. Por un instante
2. Que queden sin rocío las flores bellas
3. Prefiero mil veces

Program Note:
This set of songs came about when tenor Daniel Castillo, a friend and colleague at the University of Texas at Austin’s Butler School of Music, brought me three poems to consider setting for an upcoming recital. These poems were written by his mother decades ago while she lived in her native Mexico. They are heart-broken snapshots from Cecilia Castillo’s young adulthood, before Danny’s father was in her life. His mother would not share any of the details of why she wrote these evocative poems or who evoked such emotions in her, but she graciously allowed us to pursue this project.

The poems spoke very directly to a recent heart-break of my own. My move to Austin, TX in August of 2014 hastened the end of a three-year relationship with a man I thought I would spend the rest of my life. Christmas 2015 would be the first Christmas in years that I was to spend without him, and his absence was weighing on me. Cecilia’s lines, like the opening of the second song “Let the beautiful flowers remain without dew, / I’ve been left without your smile anyway” or “Sometimes I remember with great pain / That you are not mine” from the third song, felt like they were coming straight from my own life. Old feelings and regrets surfaced with the holiday season and stirred new feelings of loss and loneliness. I found comfort however in working with Cecilia’s own expressions of loss and heart-break. It might sound cliché, but these poems were a timely reminder that this weight of loneliness and loss was not something I was carrying alone. Many people had come before me and suffered lost loves and intensely felt all the emotion that comes with that.

Canciónes de desamor marked a return to solo vocal music for me, my last work of its kind being my short one-act opera Thyrsis & Amaranth.

English Translations:
1. Por un instante

For a moment you search for my mouth,
With a longing that surprises me,
In a moment of mad anguish,
In a movement you do not rebuke.

And I remain as always
And the kiss is half kept,
Until, after you’re gone,
My handkerchief removes it.

Sad fate of your kiss
That from my lips disappears,
And although it is quite true
That I do not love you,
I feel my soul becomes saddened.

2. Que queden sin rocío las flores bellas
Let the beautiful flowers remain without dew,
I’ve been left without your smile anyway,
Do not let the stars come to the night,
Do not let soft breeze move on the sea.

A fight remains in the heart,
The soul is no longer obligated,
no longer submitted,
Turn off the most beautiful of lights,
Taking the sound of your laughter with you.

You turn away from my life and leave a dent,
In a body that without you is scandalized,
In the fervent eyes of your footprint.

You take the flame of my love,
Your kisses become ash,
And my lips are sealed by weeping.

3. Prefiero mil veces
I prefer a thousand times
To see you from afar
Knowing your eyes look at me no longer.

I prefer not to talk to you
And continue to suffer
Knowing you are free from thinking of me,
My feelings affect you no more.

For disenchantment
Has tarnished the desire
Of kissing you tenderly.

The days pass,
Sleepless hours,
Sometimes I remember with great pain
That you’re not mine,
That I do not belong to you,
But there was love between us…


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