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Leonor Izquierdo (1894-1912) and Antonio Machado (1875-1939)
photographed on their wedding day (Soria, July 30, 1909)

Canción apócrifa / Apocryphal song (On a text by Antonio Machado)

For Voice and Piano

Download score


In response to the kind invitation of Odón Alonso to participate in the commemorative acts of the centenary of the birth of Leonor Izquierdo, wife of Antonio Machado, within the 1994 edition of the Festival "Otoño Musical Soriano", I composed this Canción Apócrifa in May of that year. Odón Alonso himself, director of the Festival, gave me a choice between a series of poems by Machado in which, more or less explicitly, the figure of Leonor was evoked, and one of them immediately caught my attention:

- Es ella... Triste y severa.
Dí, más bien, indiferente
como figura de cera.


- Es ella... Mira y no mira.
- Pon el oído en su pecho
y, luego, dile: respira.


- No alcanzo hasta el mirador.
- ¡Háblale!
- Si tú quisieras...
- Más alto.
- ... darme esa flor.
- ¿No me respondes, bien mío?
¡Nada, nada!
Cuajadita con el frío
se quedó en la madrugada.

¡Oh, claro, claro, claro!
Amor siempre se hiela
- It's her... Sad and severe.
Say, rather, indifferent
as a wax figure.


- It's her... She looks and doesn't look.
- Put your ear to his chest
and then tell her: she breathes.


- I can't reach the lookout.
- Talk to him!
- If you want...
- Louder.
- … to give me that flower.
- Don’t you answer me, my good?
Nothing, nothing!
At dawn she was
curdled with the cold

Oh, of course, of course, of course!
Love always freezes.

This curious poem was published in 1931 in the "Revista de Occidente", and constitutes, according to Luis Rosales, one of the most important, surprising and strange pieces of Machado's lyrics: "In none of his evocations of Leonor -he points out- the word reached such a degree of hallucinated intimacy... These words can hardly be commented on: they are just a flash." The poem belongs to the Apocryphal Songbook, and is titled Memories of sleep, fever and restless-sleep.

Copy of the "Revista de Occidente" in which the
Apocryphal Songbook by Antonio Machado was published
(November 1931)

In the music for the poem, a piano ritornello that is resolved each time on different harmonic situations serves as a link to the different sections on each of the stanzas. In contrast to the more lyrical initial and final ones, the music serves as a contrast over the poetically curious central dialogue, in which the voice moves in two different registers -corresponding to each of the two supposed interlocutors- on a timbral support of uniform appearance, but always changing.

Miguel Zanetti and María José Montiel (ca. 1994)

The Canción apócrifa was premiered at the Palacio de la Audiencia in Soria in September 1994, as part of the Soria’s Musical Autumn Festival, by the soprano María José Montiel and the pianist Miguel Zanetti.

The score was published in 1995 by unión Musical Española, along with the other works premiered at that concert, in a collection called Álbum de Leonor.

Cover of the edition of the Álbum de Leonor
(Unión Musical Ediciones, 1995)

First page of Canción apócrifa


Premiere recording: María José Montiel and Miguel Zanetti


Video (SGAE): Johana Simón (soprano) and Beatriz Boizán (piano)

Madrid, Manuel de Falla Hall of the Authors and Publishers General Society, February 11, 2009. Concert Homenaje de Turina a Turina, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Joaquín Turina's death


Canción apócrifa

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(Complete score (Álbum de Leonor) available at www.asesores-musicales.com )