De la Muerte Oscura
op. 65 for narrator and guitar
4th work in honor of Federico García Lorca
Preview: a sample PDF of De la muerte oscura
Duration: 5 minutes; 5 pages
Difficulty level: moderate
Instrumentation: narrator and guitar
Lyrics: poetry by Federico García Lorca
Commissioned by: Lynn McGrath
Written: January 13, 2012World premiere: by Lynn McGrath, June 2012 at Classical Minds Festival in Houston, TX
My history with Platero y Yo is precious as they were the first works I performed with my wife musical partner, Nancy Knowles. Nancy fully staged the works with backdrops and a harness of “cascabeles” (bells) for a performance at Jordan Hall in 1979 while I was on the faculty of New England Conservatory.
This work is conceived as a true accompaniment to the voice, at times providing a droning background, and at other times giving a dramatic introduction to a phrase. The piece begins with a phrase borrowed from Epitafio a un Pájaro, the first in this series of now five (this is the fourth) works dedicated to the iconic Spanish poet. I used a system of deriving pitches from the names of García Lorca and the dedicatee, Linda Marsella. Both diatonic and chromatic versions of their names were created, as well as harmonic and melodic versions. The result has given me inspiration for this work and all five pieces in the series: Epitafio a un Pájaro; Sombra para mis Gritos; La Perla del Pico; De la Muerte Oscura, and finally Un Establo de Oro.