De la Muerte Oscura

Price: $6.95
by Frank A. Wallace
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

Language: Spanish

Translation: by Paul Archer; also see original poem and translation by Robert Bly.

Commissioned by: Lynn McGrath

Written: January 13, 2012

Lynn McGrath and Frank Wallace

Lynn McGrath and Frank
Wallace at Classical Minds
Houston TX

World premiere: by Lynn McGrath, June 2012 at Classical Minds Festival in Houston, TX

Gyre Publications
Copyright ©2012 Frank A. Wallace
Cover photography and design by Nancy Knowles
All rights reserved.

De la Muerte Oscura, or Gacela #7 as Lorca called it, was written for and commissioned by a spectacular young guitarist who accompanies herself while narrating poems. The most famous work of this genre is certainly Platero y Yo, poetry by Juan Ramon Jimenez and music by Mario Castelnuovo Tedesco. Lynn McGrath is currently working on a recording of the entire, and massive, work. Those works were conceived for the maestro Andrés Segovia who made splendid recordings of a selection of the works as solo guitar pieces. To my knowledge he never performed them with narrator.

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.

Gyre Publications
Copyright ©2012 Frank A. Wallace
Cover photography and design by Nancy Knowles
All rights reserved.