Thalia Female Choir, dir. Natalia Carrasco Vargas
18.05.2018, St. Mary-at-Hill (London)
Artwork: Seb Tanti Burlo (27.10.2017 - The Bay Laurel Tree)
‘Soneto XIII’ is a piece for female voices. It is based on a sonnet by Spanish Renaissance poet Garcilaso de la Vega (c. 1501 – 1536). The poem takes as its main character Daphne, a naiad from Greek mythology, who was transformed into a laurel tree as to escape the advances of Apollo. Over centuries, the laurel wreath became a symbol of courage and strength.
This work is dedicated to Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese anti-corruption campaigner and investigative journalist, who died in car bomb on the 16 October 2017 in Malta. A few days after the assassination, Daphne's sons sent laurel leaves from their mother's garden to a group of women organising a four-day vigil for justice in front of the Prime Minister's office. Daphne's work lives on through 'The Daphne Project', a global consortium of 45 journalists from The Guardian, The New York Times, La Repubblica, Le Monde and other newspapers.
A Dafne ya los brazos le crecían
y en luengos ramos vueltos se mostraban;
en verdes hojas vi que se tornaban
los cabellos qu'el oro escurecían;
de áspera corteza se cubrían
los tiernos miembros que aun bullendo 'staban;
los blancos pies en tierra se hincaban
y en torcidas raíces se volvían.
Aquel que fue la causa de tal daño,
a fuerza de llorar, crecer hacía
este árbol, que con lágrimas regaba.
¡Oh miserable estado, oh mal tamaño,
que con llorarla crezca cada día
la causa y la razón por que lloraba!
translation (John Dent-Young)
Daphne’s arms were growing: now they were seen
taking on the appearance of slim branches;
those tresses, which discountenanced gold’s brightness,
were, as I watched, turning to leaves of green;
the delicate limbs still quivering with life
became scarfed over with a rough skin of bark,
the white feet to the ground were fi rmly stuck,
changed into twisted roots, which gripped the earth.
He who was the cause of this great evil
so wildly wept the tree began to grow,
because with his tears he watered it himself.
O wretched state, o monumental ill,
that the tears he weeps should cause each day to grow
that which is cause and motive for his grief.