Project Description

Nise Lacrimosa
Romance for orchestra
for chamber orchestra: *º2*2*22 – 2200 – 1perc. – strings

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  • composition date: 2010/ rev. 2011/ new rev. 2017
  • latest version: corr. & rev. 2022
  • duration: ca. 11 min.
  • dedication: «for Alexandre Delgado, in deepest friendship»
  • detailed orchestration:
    2fl. (1+picc./2+alto-fl.)/ 2ob. (2+eng.-horn)/ 2cl. (2+bass-cl.)/ 2fg./ 2hr./ 2trpt./ perc.(1): timpani; 2 susp. cymb. [large/small]; 2 triangles (suspended) [small/big]; wind chimes [mark-tree]; slapstick; glockenspiel/ strings (min. | max.
  • premiere: 4/July/2011 | Alcobaça, Cine-Teatro João D’Oliva Monteiro | Portuguese Chamber Orchestra/ dir. Pedro Carneiro
  • commissioned by Cistermúsica 2011–XIXth Music Festival of Alcobaça
  • nominated for the Authors Prize 2012, of the SPA [Portuguese Authors Society]

The episode of the Loves of Pedro and Inês, referring to a love affair between the Prince
D. Pedro (future king of Portugal) and the Galician dame D. Inês de Castro, is certainly one of the most disturbing moments of the Portuguese long and rich History. Passion, intrigue, hate, death, revenge, are some of the ingredients of what could very well be a romance novel, where it not for the cruelty of telling true facts. Actually, so rich of dramaturgy is the story, that so many artists have lean upon it, from painters to writers, and of course also composers, significantly on the operatic field.

However, the perspective in my most recent orchestral oeuvre, NISE LACRIMOSA, is not, nor it aims to be, purely descriptive. Just as a painter nowadays would not, most probably, produce a merely realistic representation of those events, also my music (albeit indeed inspired by the story of Pedro and Inês) takes a more subjective approach, perhaps more in the style of surrealistic painting: there are recognizable elements, but they aren’t aligned in a traditional way.
Above all, throw my music I intend to deliver emotions rather than plain facts: the emotions that I suppose crossed the lovers’ minds at that time, or those of D: Afonso IV king of Portugal and father of D. Pedro, who was persuaded by the courtesan intrigues to call for the murder of Inês de Castro, as well as those of the murderers who perpetrated such an ignoble act. But in the end, also my ones as I reflect upon those tragic events. I don’t hide I seek to write music that pleases the listener (or at least I hope so!), but not necessarily for its “beauty” in an empty and merely superficial sense, but much more for trying to transmit those emotions I spoke before, and which I sincerely think are Art’s most utter significance.
Finally some words about the title: NISE LACRIMOSA. I borrowed it from the 16th-century Spanish dramaturge Jerónimo Bermúdez. Under the pseudonym António Silva, Bermúdez wrote actually two romances on the subject of the love affair between Pedro and Inês, Nise lastimosa (or lacrimosa, depending on the sources) and Nise laureada, both from 1577, and that in turn are based on the 1558 play A Castro (or The Tragedy of Inês de Castro) by António Ferreira (1528-1569), one of the most important writers and humanists of Portugal in the Renaissance period. As I explained before there’s no descriptive attempt at all in my musical piece, therefore there’s no parallelism whatsoever between mine and Bermúdez’ literary oeuvre. I only took the same title because I find the word combination, in a purely phonetic sense, very interesting, at the same time sweet [Nise] and sad [Lacrimosa].

(rev. May/2022)

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