I Mil caballitos persas se dormían
II Quiero dormir el sueño de las manzanas
III Todas las tardes en Granada
IV Puedo ver el duelo de la noche herida
V Como me pierdo en el corazón de algunos niños
VI Por el arco de Elvira
Each movement of this suite of pieces takes its title from a fragment of a poem by the Spanish author Federico Garcia Lorca. With its childlike, magical, and yet searing imagery, Lorca’s work has always affected me deeply. These lines are excerpted from poems in a 1936 collection, The Tamarit Divan.
A thousand Persian ponies fell asleep
in the moonlit plaza of your forehead
while through four nights I embraced
your waist, enemy of the snow.
I want to sleep the sleep of apples
to withdraw from the tumult of cemeteries
I want to sleep the dream of that child
who wanted to cut his heart on the high seas.
Each afternoon in Granada
a child dies each afternoon.
I can see the duel of the wounded night
writhing in battle with noon.
As I lose myself in the heart of certain children
I have lost myself in the sea many times.
Ignorant of the water I go seeking
a death full of light to consume me.
Through the arch of Elvira
I’m going to see you pass,
to feel your thighs
and begin weeping.
This work was commissioned by CBC Radio for the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra. Simon Streatfeild conducted the premier performance at Westminster Church in Winnipeg, on February 11, 1998.