Epitafio a un Pájaro

Price: $14.95
Epitafio a un Pájaro
by Frank A. Wallace

for mezzo-soprano, flute and two and guitars, op. 62; poetry by Federico Garcia Lorca; PARTS INCLUDED

Preview: a sample PDF of Epitafio a un Pájaro
Written: January, 2011
Lyrics: poetry by Federico Garcia Lorca
Language: Spanish
Duration: 14 minutes; 16 pages
Difficulty level: Moderate; mostly single notes for guitars
Instrumentation: flute, mezzo-soprano, guitar I, guitar II
Recording: Gyre Spotlight One by Duo LiveOak and Nury Ulate and David Mozqueda (who did the Mexican debut with Duo LiveOak at the Cuerdas y Canto Festival in Toluca Mexico in August 2011); thanks to Pablo Garibay who made the recording
Supported by: a NH Arts Council Project Grant supported the creation, debut and recording of Epitafio.

All Gyre compositions are ASCAP.
Copyright ©2015 Frank A. Wallace
Cover photography and design by Nancy Knowles
All rights reserved.

A short film on the recording of Epitafio a un Pájaro by Pablo Garibay in Toluca, Mexico, 2011

This is a series of works I have composed in honor of Federico García Lorca over the past two years;
1.) Ovejita is a song with ten-string guitar;
2.) Sombra para los Gritos was written in late August 2011 for ChromaDuo;
3.) Epitafio a un Pájaro was written in January 2011 for mezzo, flute and two guitars;
4.) La Perla del Pico was written Sept. 4-6, 2011 for flute and four guitars;
5.) De la Muerte Oscura was written January 13, 2012 for narrator and guitar for Lynn McGrath and has not been recorded yet
6.) Un Establo de Oro was written January 20-27, 2012 for flute, cello and two guitars.

Special thanks go to the New Hampshire Arts Council for supporting the creation, debut and recording of Epitafio; Jose Lezcano and Jennifer Yeaton-Paris for their fine performances on the debut; Nury Ulate and David Mozqueda who did the Mexican debut with us at the Cuerdas y Canto Festival in Toluca Mexico in August 2011 and are featured in this track, and to Pablo Garibay who made the recording. Thanks also go to the Mariposa Museum, Keene State College and the Concord Community Music School for their support.

Epitafio a un Pájaro was written in the memory of Linda Marsella, co-founder of the Mariposa Museum in Peterborough NH with David Blair. I had been incubating an idea for over three years to write a composition in honor of Linda, who died at a tragically young age in 2007. It is my thank you to the Museum for all their support of Duo LiveOak and of the southern NH community in general. “Epitafio a un pajaro” (Epitaph for a Bird) is a song based on a poem by Federico Garcia Lorca. It concludes with “And this night I will send / to cover your body / an enormous butterfly / of my only kiss. Memento!” Lorca was a favorite of Linda’s and this poem was read at her memorial service on 07/07/07. Linda dreamed of a peaceful and connected world and wanted to bring the world to New England’s doorstep by providing extraordinary programs and celebrations of world cultures.

The central image of the poem is the bird that has died. The flute, of course, is the bird and carries on a dialogue with the singer who tells it she will be laid to rest on a bed of chrysanthemum and asks it to give greetings to her little brother who is already in Limbo. The poem ends with the symbol of the butterfly as a shroud. Linda identified with the butterfly – hence the Museum’s name. The three sections weave together various musical themes that are built on the names of both the poet Lorca and the honoree Linda. Both diatonic and chromatic versions of their names were created, as well as harmonic and melodic versions. The result has given me inspiration for five pieces now: Epitafio a un Pájaro; Sombra para mis Gritos; La Perla del Pico; and recently a piece for narrator and guitar for Lynn McGrath, De la Muerte Oscura, and finally Un Establo de Oro.

[Epitafio a un pájaro]

[…………………] y sus ojos tuvieron
profundidad de siglos
mientras se le irisaba
la gran perla del pico
Adiós pájaro verde
Ya estarás en el Limbo
Visita de mi parte
a mi hemano Luisillo
en la pradera
con los mamoncillos
¡Adiós pájaro verde
tan grande y tan chico
¡Admirable quimera
del limón y el narciso!Acción de gracias
Gracias, Señor lejano.
Señor y Padre mío
que me das una inmensa
lección de lirismo.¡Oh Santo, santo, santo
que muestras el divino
momento de la muerte
sin velos, a mi espíritu!

Dame la dignidad
del pájaro y el ritmo
de las alas abiertas
ante lo sombrío.

¡Oh Santo santo santo!
Esta noche te pido
agua para mis ojos,
sombra para mis gritos!


He acostado al cantor
sobre un gran crisantemo
y escribo su epitafio.


La Tierra duerme bajo
su mantilla de viento
con mares encrespados
y con mares serenos.


Ahora mismo se hacen
preguntas los luceros.
Tú sabes la respuestav
que no conocen ellos.


Yacerás esta noche
sobre un lírico lecho.
¿Qué niño durmió nunca
en una flor su sueño?


Y esta noche enviaré
para velar tu cuerpo
la mariposa enorme
de mi único beso.


Translation by Nancy Knowles
….and her eyes had
the depth of centuries
while the great pearl
of her beak glowed.Goodbye green bird
You must already be in Limbo
Visit for me
my brother Luisillo
in the meadow with the

Goodbye, green bird
So big and so small
You incredible chimera
of lemon and narcissus!

The giving of thanks
Thank you, far-off Lord.
Lord and my Father
–you give me an immense
lesson in lyricism.

Oh Holy, holy, holy
you reveal the divine
moment of death
without veils, to my spirit!

Give me the dignity
of this bird and the rhythm
of wings open
to the dark.

Oh Holy, holy, holy!
Tonight I beg of you
water for my eyes,
shadow for my cries!


I have laid the singer
down upon a great chrysanthemum
and I write her epitaph.


The Earth sleeps under
its shawl of wind
with surging seas
and with peaceful seas.


Now the stars
are asking questions.
You know the answer
that they know not.


You will stretch out
tonight on a poetic bed.
What child has never
slept his dreams on a flower?


And tonight I will send
to watch over your body
the enormous butterfly
of my only kiss.