3 Baladas do Amor Amargo ou 3 Baladas do Amargo Amor

3 Baladas do Amor Amargo ou 3 Baladas do Amargo Amor

3 Baladas do Amor Amargo ou 3 Baladas do Amargo Amor (2013)
For Piano Solo and pianist’s voice

Dedicated and premiered by Luciane Cardassi at Canadian Music Centre, Rolston Recital Hall, The Banff Centre, Canada. LIVE performance. February 5, 2016.

Duration: 12’.17’’

3 Baladas do Amor Amargo ou 3 Baladas do Amargo Amor (roughly translated as 3 Ballades about (how) love bitters [myself] or 3 Ballades about a bitter love) is a mini-opera for piano and pianist’s voice. It is a tribute to three of the most important female poets of African-Galician-Portuguese origin: Noémia de Souza, from Mozambique, Rosalía de Castro from Galicia and Florbela Espanca from Portugal.

The poems (text reprinted below) deal with the unpredictable changes in life, focusing on resentment, melancholia, solitude, abandonment and bitterness, caused by love or its absence. The piece is organized in the form of short “scenes”, like a mini-opera, in three continuous movements (I – Noémia; II – Rosalía; III – Florbela). The first movement has three scenes, the second movement has only one, and the third movement is again in three scenes, in A-B-A form. The scenes explore the virtuosity and dramatic capabilities of the performer. The piano works not as accompaniment but as a ‘medium’ through which the various characters are embodied by the pianist.

The piece makes great use of the resonance of the piano, as well as of some extended techniques such as when the performer strikes the strings with her hands. On the emotional level, the work transits between extremes: from the discomfort culminating with a shout, to the sweetness of some short musical gestures on the piano, and ending with an intense feminine lucidity about a failed love affair.

I – Noémia

Em vez de lágrimas
Só um choro em seco
Põe no vértice da minha dor
O mais intenso auge do luto.
Na baça melancolia do tecto
Bilros de teia bordam solidão
Enquanto meigos sussurros de sombra
No brilhante mutismo do espelho
Recitam estrofes de poeira.

Instead of tears,
only a dry cry,
puts at the apex of my pain
the most intense peak of mourning.
In the melancholic dull ceiling,
laces of cobwebs embroider the solitude,
while gentle shadowy whispers
in the shinning silence of the mirror
Recite stanzas made of dust.

II – Rosalía

Cando era tempo de inverno,
Pensaba en dónde estarías;
Cando era tempo de sol,
Pensaba en dónde andarías.
¡Agora… tan sóio penso,
Meu ben, si me olvidarías!

When it was winter time
I used to wonder where you were,
When the days were sunny
I used to wonder where you’d wandered
Now… I Just wonder,
my beloved, if you’ve forgotten me!

III – Florbela

E a minha triste boca dolorida
que dantes tinha o rir das primaveras
Esbate as linhas graves e severas
e cai no abandono de esquecida!
E as lágrimas que choro, branca e calma,
ninguém as vê brotar dentro da alma;
ninguém as vê cair dentro de mim!
Mas nem negros nem azuis
são teus olhos meu amor…
seriam da cor da mágoa,
se a mágoa tivesse cor.

And my sad painful mouth
that once used to smile like the spring-time feels,
Fades, its contour falling,
Forgotten, abandoned!
And the tears I cry, virgin and quiet,
no one sees them blossom out of the soul;
No one sees them fall from my eyes!
But neither black nor blue
is the colour of your eyes my beloved…
their colour would resemble the colour of ‘hurt’,
If ‘hurt’ had a colour.

For score requests and other informations, please contact the composer.