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The Gypsy Ballads

Word count: 553

Song Cycle by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895 - 1968)

Original language: Romancero Gitano

1. Song of the Three Rivers

Language: English after the Spanish (Español)

Authorship

  • Translation from Spanish (Español) to English copyright © 2010 by Richard Gard, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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The river Guadalquivir
flows between oranges and olives.
The two rivers of Granada
descend from the white snows to the wheat fields.

Ah, love that left, 
never to return!
 
The Guadalquivir
has a beard of garnet.
The two rivers of Granada,
one of tears and one of blood.

Ah, love that flew, 
into thin air!
 
For boats under sail,
Seville has a channel;
In the waters of Granada,
only sighs remain.

Ah, love that left, 
never to return!
 
Guadalquivir, high tower
and wind in the orange groves.
Dauro and Genil,
lifeless cairns above the ponds.

Ah, love that flew, 
into thin air!
 
Who can say how the waters carry a
vain fire of cries!

Ah, love that left, 
never to return!
 
Carry orange blossoms, carry olives,
Andalucia, down to the sea.

Ah love that flew, 
into thin air!


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2. The guitar

Language: English after the Spanish (Español)

Authorship

  • Translation from Spanish (Español) to English copyright © 2010 by Richard Gard, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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The weeping
of the guitar begins.
The cups of dawn
are broken.
The weeping
of the guitar begins.
It is useless to silence it.
It is impossible
to silence it.
It cries, monotonously,
as the waters cry,
as the wind cries
over the snowfall.
It is impossible
to silence it.
It weeps for things
far away.
It asks the Sands of the South
for white camellias.
It cries for the arrow without a target,
for the afternoon without a morning,
and for the first bird who dies
on the branch.
Oh, guitar!
Heart wounded
by five swords.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

3. Dagger

Language: English after the Spanish (Español)

Authorship

  • Translation from Spanish (Español) to English copyright © 2010 by Richard Gard, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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The dagger
pierces the heart
like the blade of the plow
in dry mud.
 
No.
Do not stab me.
No.
 
The dagger,
like a ray of sun,
burns the desolate
ravines.
 
No.
Do not stab me.
No.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

4. Holy Week procession

Language: English after the Spanish (Español)

Authorship

  • Translation from Spanish (Español) to English copyright © 2010 by Richard Gard, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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1. Procession
 Down the road come
 strange unicorns.
 From what fields,
 what mythological woods?
 Circling closer
 They look like astronomers.
 Ghostly Merlins
 and the condemned Christ,
 Enchanted Durandarte,
 Orlando Furioso.
 
2. Paso (large platform carrying a statue used in holy processions)
 Virgin with glittering crinoline skirts,
 virgin of solitude,
 Opening like an immense
 tulip.
 In your boat of lights
 you sail
 with the high tide
 of the city,
 among gypsy songs
 and crystal stars.
 Virgin with glittering crinoline skirts,
 you float
 on the river of the street -
 to the sea!
 
3. Saeta (gypsy processional song for Holy Week)
 The swarthy Christ
 transforms
 from the lily of Judea
 to the carnation of Spain.

 Look where he's coming from!

 From Spain,
 the sky, clean and dark,
 the earth scorched,
 and ditches where
 water runs very slowly.
 Swarthy Christ,
 his locks of hair burned,
 his cheekbones protruding
 and his pupils white.

 Look where he's going!


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

5. Mememto

Language: English after the Spanish (Español)

Authorship

  • Translation from Spanish (Español) to English copyright © 2010 by Richard Gard, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

    Contact:

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When I die,
bury me with my guitar
under the sand.
 
When I die,
between the orange trees
and the peppermint.
 
When I die,
bury me, as you wish,
on a weather vane.
 
When I die!


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

6. Dance

Language: English after the Spanish (Español)

Authorship

  • Translation from Spanish (Español) to English copyright © 2010 by Richard Gard, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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Carmen is dancing
in the streets of Seville.
Her hair is white
and her pupils sparkle.
 
Girls, close the curtains!
 
Around her head is entwined
a yellow snake.
And she is dreaming, dancing
with gentlemen from the past.
 
Girls, close the curtains!
 
The streets are deserted
and in the shadows are gleamed
Andalucian hearts
Unearthing old sorrows.
 
Girls, close the curtains!


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

7. Castanet

Language: English after the Spanish (Español)

Authorship

  • Translation from Spanish (Español) to English copyright © 2010 by Richard Gard, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you may ask the copyright-holder(s) directly or ask us; we are authorized to grant permission on their behalf. Please provide the translator's name when contacting us.

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Castanet.
Castanet.
Castanet.
Raucous black beetle.
 
In the spider legs
of a hand
you curl the hot
air
and drown in your trill
of wood.
 
Castanet.
Castanet.
Castanet.
Raucous black beetle.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. If you wish to copy it and distribute it, you must obtain permission or you will be breaking the law. Once you have permission, you must give credit to the author and display the copyright symbol ©. Copyright infringement is a criminal offense under international law.

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