Each movement is marked with a reference to a different, but similarly themed, poem. The first movement references Lorca’s poem, Canción de jinete, as translated by Susana Cavallo; this is also the origin of the title, Córdoba. The second movement makes reference to Samuel Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The final movement references C.P. Cavafy’s Walls, as translated by Elena Spilioti (with the collaboration of George Zorbas and Chris Burke). To the best of my knowledge, these texts have never been grouped together before, separated as they are by time, country, and language. Yet their juxtaposition may strike the listener as surprisingly natural. The poems are drawn together here by their common literary themes, their shared observations of a human nature which transcends nationalist boundaries, and by the embodiment of human isolation in the pathos of a solo oboe.
I: Lorca’s Canción de jinete (trans. Susana Cavallo)
Ay! That death should await me
before I reach Córdoba.
Far-off and alone.
II: Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Like one that on a lonesome road
Doth walk in fear and dread,
And having once turned round walks on,
And turns no more his head,
Because he knows a frightful fiend
Doth close behind him tread
III: CP Cavafy’s Walls (trans. Elena Spilioti, in collaboration with George Zorbas & Chris Burke)
With no care, no pity, no shame
Walls they built all around me, high, thick walls.
…Alas, while the walls were rising, how could I not have noticed.
But I never heard a builder hammering, nor any noise.
I never sensed it when they sealed me off from the world out there.