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Songs

Songs

Romance de Rosa fresca (1988)


Part of a series or song cycle:

A Spanish Liederbooklet


Romance de Rosa fresca

Rosa fresca, rosa fresca—tan garrida y con amor,
Cuando yo’s tuve en mis brasos—no vos supe servir, no,
Y agora que vos serviría—no vos puedo yo haber, no;
‘Vuestra fué la culpa, amigo,—vuestra fué, que mia no;
enviásteme una carta—con un vuestro servidor,
y en lugar de recabdar,—él dijera otra razón:
qu’érades casado, amigo,—allá en tierras de Léon;
que tenéis mujer hermosa—y hijos como una flor.’
‘Quien os lo dijo, señora,—no vos dijo verdad, non,
que yo nunca entré en Castilla,—ni allá en tierras de Léon,
sino cuando era pequeño—que no sabia d’amor.

Romance of Rosa fresca

Fresh rose, fresh rose, so graceful and loving,
when I held you in my arms I did not know how to
please you, and now that I would please you I cannot have you.
‘The fault was yours, friend. It was yours, not mine.
You sent me a letter by your servant;
and instead of delivering it, he told me another story,
that you had married, friend, away in the land of Léon,
that you had a beautiful child and children as (fair as) a flower.’
‘Whoever told you that, lady. Did not tell you the truth,
for I have never been in Castile, nor yonder in the land of Léon,
except when I was small and knew nothing of love.’

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Composer

Judith Weir was born into a Scottish family in 1954, but grew up near London. She was an oboe player, performing with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and studied composition with John Tavener during her schooldays. She went on to Cambridge University, where her composition teacher was Robin Holloway; and in 1975 attended summer school at Tanglewood, where she worked with Gunther Schuller. After this she spent several years working in schools and adult education in rural southern England; followed by a period based in Scotland, teaching at Glasgow University and RSAMD.

During this time she began to write a series of operas (including King Harald’s Saga, The Black Spider, A Night at the Chinese Opera, The Vanishing Bridegroom and Blond Eckbert) which have subsequently received many performances in the UK, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and the USA. The most recent opera is Miss Fortune, premiered at Bregenz in 2011, and then staged at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in 2012.

As resident composer with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in the 1990s, she wrote several works for orchestra and chorus (including Forest, Storm and We are Shadows) which were premiered by the orchestra’s then Music Director, Simon Rattle. She has been commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra (Music Untangled and Natural History) the Minnesota Orchestra (The Welcome Arrival of Rain) and the London Sinfonietta (Tiger under the Table); and has written concert works for some notable singers, including Jane Manning, Dawn Upshaw, Jessye Norman and Alice Coote. Her latest vocal work is Good Morning, Midnight, premiered by Sarah Connolly and the Aurora Orchestra in May 2015.

She now lives in London, where she has had a long association with Spitalfields Music Festival; and in recent years has taught as a visiting professor at Princeton, Harvard and Cardiff universities. Honours for her work include the Critics’ Circle, South Bank Show, Elise L Stoeger and Ivor Novello awards, a CBE (1995) and the Queen’s Medal for Music (2007). In 2014 she was appointed Master of The Queen’s Music in succession to Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. In January 2015 she became Associate Composer to the BBC Singers.

Much of her music has been recorded, and is available on the NMC, Delphian and Signum labels. In 2014-15 there were releases of The Vanishing Bridegroom  (NMC) and Storm (BBC Singers/Signum).  Judith Weir’s music is published by Chester Music and Novello & Co.  She blogs about her experiences of cultural life in the UK at judithweir.com


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