Tres canciones sobre poemas de Rachel
Rachel Bluwstein Sela (1890-1931), known by the pen name of Rachel, was born in Russia and settled in Palestine from the age of 19. Her poems possess an extraordinary transparency, conveying simply and briefly complex feelings of hope, unrequited love, self-doubt, irony, fear of death, and devotion to the land and landscape of Palestine. She wrote in Russian and later switched to Hebrew.
Tres canciones sobre poemas de Rachel are settings of Spanish translations of three of Rachel poems. Written in La Paz in 1976 – when the composer was 18 – they belong to a youthful period of development and discovery. In 1992 the composer destroyed most of his manuscripts written before 1984. Only a handful of works were preserved, among them this choral songcycle.
In the first song the poet deploys a degree of sarcasm to describe her own abject infatuation with a man who does not return her love. In the second song Rachel depicts the enthusiasm for agricultural work shared by the pioneers in Palestine, with words full of a sunny vitality clouded only by a wistful mention of her posthumous legacy at the end. The third song stares death in the face, first protesting that it is too soon, then accepting “the verdict” and attempting a gracious welcome of the inevitable.
© Agustín Fernández 2018