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Canciónes de desamor | Steven Sérpa

Canciónes de desamor

for medium-high voice and chamber ensemble (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:
Canciónes de desamor came about when a tenor friend asked me to consider setting some poems written by his mother Cecilia Castillo. They are poems of heartbreak written decades ago while she lived in her native Mexico. I was immediately taken by them because they spoke directly to a recent heartbreak of my own. 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 the lines “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. I composed my setting over the winter holidays of 2015-2016, holidays that bring up old feelings and regrets in addition to renewed feelings of loss and loneliness. I found comfort however in working with Cecilia’s own expressions of loss. As true as the phrase “Love is Love” so also is “Loss is Loss.” These are feelings shared by all people, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work with such beautifully crafted words.

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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