Art song for voice and electronics in Spanish
Composer: Andres Luz
As there are not many pieces for solo voice and electronic media, I wanted to take the opportunity to work toward making a contribution in this medium. “El Perdido” is my title for the setting of Alejo Valdés Pica’s poem, “El Amor de los Amores,” which is about a rejected lover so traumatized by a failed romance that his entire vision of reality has become lost to him: his world is falling apart around him. Everything has become an eternal wasteland to him with only a faint reminiscence to momentarily alleviate the pains that lie within. The sandstorm that envelopes him at the end of the song is therefore appropriate; it reflects the inner turmoil that has lead him to yearn to be free of his life, a yearning that becomes as infinite as all the grains of sand lost in the desert. Pica’s work is representative of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth century Filipino poets who incorporated contemporary Symbolist imagery in an overwrought style of Spanish writing.
Text and Translation:
La vida es un dolor. Es algo incierto,
lleno da brumas y de ensoñaciones
que nos hacen temblar. Sepulcro abierto
para enterrar en él las ilusiones.
Es triste caravana en el desierto.
Nos morimos de sed. Las desazones
son inquietantes, como un cuerpo muerto
destrozado por garras de leones.
De la vida en el áspero camino
yo he sido como humilde peregrino
que hizo el amor de su ideal un rito;
atravesó el desierto con mis penas,
y he quemado mis pies en sus arenas
en un ansia infinita de infinito.
–Alejo Valdés Pica (1890-1945)
Life is pain. It is uncertain and
full of foggy daydreams
that make us tremble—a ready grave
awaiting our illusions.
On a sad desert caravan
We die of thirst. Like lions clawing
the carcass of dead prey,
anxieties tear us apart.
On a humble pilgrim’s journey I have
traveled life’s rough roads, turning
love’s ideal into perfect rituals.
I walked along the desert with my hardships
and burned my feet in the sands
in an infinite yearning for the infinite.
Translation: Carla Cao and Ruben Cao.