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Rafael Alberti (1902-1999). Photo taken ca. 1933


En forma de cuento / In the form of a story (On a poem by Rafael Alberti)

For low Voice and Piano


Commentary
Text
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Commentary


In the form of a story was composed in December 1994 at the request of the mezzo-soprano Mabel Perelstein, to whom it is dedicated. For this I selected a strange poem by Rafael Alberti, published in 1933 in a volume entitled Consignas, with which Alberti begins his stage of "communist poetry", after his affiliation to the party following the proclamation of the Spanish Second Republic in 1931, and his consolidation after his attendance at a congress of anti-fascist writers in the former Soviet Union, and which extends until 1938.

Cover of the first edition of Consignas (1933)

The narration in verse of the progressive entry of misery, oppression, injustice and despotism in the life of a child whose parents are forced to leave him alone every day to go to work, requires a musical treatment of the text with predominance of the recitative, which breaks again and again the few lyrical moments that try to break through the dominant dramatic character.
In the form of a story was premiered by Mabel Perelstein in San Martín de Valdeiglesias (Madrid), on July 17, 1999.

Mezzosoprano Mabel Perelstein (1954-2020)


First page of En forma de cuento



Text


Entonces fue,
fue entonces:
cuando la ira del pedrisco
venció la resistencia de los campos
y el Sol achicharró el cadáver del trigo,
cuando poco después, ya desde otro corral cantó tu gallo
y tu vaca mugió desde otro establo
y desde otro redil tus ovejas balaron
y se murió tu perro
y en otra tierra se clavó tu arado.
Entonces fue,
fue entonces.

El jornal estaba lejos,
lejos estaba el trabajo.
Dos leguas era el camino
y las dos leguas andando.
Solo, junto a la ventana,
te dejábamos.
Si no te arrullaba el viento,
te acompañaban los pájaros.

Entonces fue,
fue entonces:
cuando la luna ensangrentaba los vallados
y los olivos
saliendo de la sombra decían algo
y los pastores
mataban por el monte los rebaños
y de un balazo
tu padre se dobló sobre un barranco
y yo corría
herida por las piedras y los cardos
y el usurero
que nos robó la sangre y el descanso
dormía viendo en sueños nuestros campos.
Entonces fue,
fue entonces.

Estabas solo en la casa,
la puerta la derribaron.
A registrar -tú dormías-
entró un hombre de a caballo.
Después, del corral vecino,
un cerdo en tu oscuro cuarto.
Entonces fue... Negro era,
y te devoró la mano.


(Rafael Alberti, Consignas, 1933)
Then it was,
it was then:
when the wrath of the hail
overcame the resistance of the fields
and the sun scorched the carcass of the wheat,
when shortly after, from another corral your rooster crowed
and your cow mooed from another barn
and from another fold your sheeps bleated
and your dog died
and your plow was stuck in another land.
Then it was,
it was then.

The wage was far away,
work was far away.
Two leagues was the way
and the two leagues walking.
Alone by the window
we left you.
If the wind didn't rock you,
The birds accompanied you.

Then it was,
it was then:
when the moon bloodied the fences
and the olive trees
said something coming out of the shadow
and the shepherds
killed the herds on the mountain
and with a bullet
your father bent over a ravine
and I ran
wounded by stones and thistles
and the usurer
who stole our blood and rest
slept seeing our fields in dreams.
Then it was,
it was then.

You were alone in the house
the door was broken down.
To register -you were sleeping-
entered a man on horseback.
Later, from the neighboring corral,
a pig in your dark room.
Then it was... It was black,
and he devoured your hand.






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(Score without watermarks available at www.asesores-musicales.com )