Amor a Roma (2001) (Urbana 12b)

For mezzo-soprano and chamber orchestra (15 instruments)

Six songs on C.E. Feiling’s texts

– Alondra de luz
– Plango vulnera
– Himeneo
– Común requiebro
– Proceso
– Leve Copla-El afán de la pena

The collaboration with “Charlie” (Feiling) begins with our teenage years in the Liceo. On February ‘97 I started writing a song cycle about Amor a Roma (title of the book and also a palindrome in Spanish which means: Love of Rome)  as a space of friendship that would allow us to further develop our complicity and discussions. Later on I “commissioned” a plot in the shape of a short story for the composition of a vocal piece about Buenos Aires (he started a short story “lea el PH” [read the PH] which seemed promising but remained unfinished). In the month of June (the 5th) I sent the first song for his birthday and we promised each other, with the complicity of Susanna Moncayo, that we would premiere the songs that were finished by August or September. In July, after his third Leukemia relapse, Charlie passed away.

The first version of five from the six songs, originally made for voice and piano, premiered by Susanna Moncayo and Gerardo Gandini in  Studio Théâtre of Stains on February ‘98.

I made the orchestration by completion of the cycle with two other texts from the cycle: “Leve Copla” for which the singer performs a spoken version, and “El afán de la pena” which is a sort of sung milonga.

The references to popular music and quotation (true or false) come from the common view that we had with Charlie about the relation between tradition and the present. The faithful witnesses of this relation are the quotes from texts in Latin from Catullus and Propertius, and the echo of the Spanish Golden Age with Quevedo and Góngora. In Feiling’s poetry, the current component is visible in the use of neologisms and winks of lunfardo (the argot of Buenos Aires) many times mixed with learned words which have to be “looked up in the dictionary”.

This is one of the reasons why the venturing into diverse music styles was adopted without beating around the bush when writing the score. Having said that, it should be noted that the tangos written “in style” were not quoted.





Leve  Copla-El afán de la pena

Amor a Roma
Recording of the concert at Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires
Ensamble XXI directed by Alejo Pérez
MezzoSusanna Moncayo von Hase


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