22.6.09

green on red


Green how I love you green.
Green wind.
Green boughs.
The ship on the sea
And the horse on the mountain.

f.garcia lorca, a genius man said this. garcia lorca is one poet who entered my life one afternoon, by the side door. he sneaked in, like the blood spill, slowly spreading through the cracks of the floor, thick and coppery. with that metal gloss-sheen over. the bright red turning into deep burgendy as the weightless oxygen caressed its velvet surface.

it was my post-1945 musicology class. the subject of the class was not lorca, but of george crumb. crumb is a master of colours and evocations. he creates these massive pictorial scores, full of flow and rhythm, of curves and movements. and though it is not obvious to even decipher his scores at first as there are so many 'new' notations- the signs and symbols that he exclusively uses for these puzzles. we even call his graphic notational chart as 'key,' like alice's 'keys' in her wanderings. as she roams around the wonderland, alice finds various keys- which does not look like a key at all. but through her random interaction with these unknown objects with very simple descriptions such as 'drink,' she keeps opening another dimension of fantasy and phantasy.

and one of his muses, federico garcia lorca, is a definite evocator. his poems and plays are always full of life; eerie, even. they lie still, without movement in black on white. then once your eyes start to glance through them, they become alive- through their sounds, motions and shapes. it's not just ordinary texts, but INCANTATIONS. it is interesting to note that what we commonly call 'spanish' has so many dialects and each dialect is quite different from one to another. the continental european spanish, castellano- the official spanish for spain, for instance, was nothing like spanish i have heard in the spain-france border of pyrenee mountains- i was attending pablo casals festival and boy.. i was getting nervous whenever my collegues were joking about them all speaking 'spanish,' which meant castellano. i was worried that we were gonna get butts kicked as the region speaks catalan- as that independence issus is still a hot button to date.

garcia lorca, introduced by crumb lecture, one day, made a full circle in monkey head with de falla. both are from the region of andalusia (lorca from a small village near granada, de falla from cadiz); andalusia, the south of spain, containing well-known travel destinations of malaga, cordoba, seville and cadiz. lorca, being sensitive and aware as a poet, must have been finely tuned to the andalusian dialect. with centuries of moorish influence and its influence- arabic words and phrases, then heavily mixed with gitano culture (spanish gypses), the andalusian temperament is perhaps best cumulated in flamenco. in fact, some andalusian expressions are completely absent in castellano. lorca, dark-blooded, salvadore dali's lover, illustrates a tremendous feat in his 'ode to salvador dali,' conjuring and blurring the fine lines between the senses, indulging in heavy synesthesia, a strong influence from ruben dario. even when one does not really speak fluent spanish, this poem is worthwhile piece to just 'sound through,' a diction exercise (of course, along with a trans. text for reference..)

here's a english translation for us, the mere white-bums: http://www.artofeurope.com/lorca/lor2.htm

de falla, one of the few 'spanish' composers (as ironically, much of popular spanish music of the time was written by french- similar to the germans writing hungarian gypse music), wrote some art songs (lucky for us), one of my favorite cycle being the siete canciones populares espanolas. and how did de falla made collision with lorca? well, easy tiger, easy. the third one of the set, asturiana, a simple folksong, is built in colour green.

Por ver si me consolaba (To see whether it would console me)
Arrime a un pino verde (I drew near a green pine)
Por ver si me consolaba (To see whether it would console me).
Por verme llorar, lloraba (Seeing me weep, it wept)
Y el pino como era verde (And the pine, being green)
Por verme llorar, lloraba (seeing me weep, wept)

almost ironic how this image of green is set on the warm backglow of red. perhaps blood red. as one weeps. weeping for consolation. a consolation for what? one cannot say for sure, but the way it strikes me today is for an absence. a situation of absence, which may or may not be permanent, doesnt matter- because even if it were to be resolved in the future, for now, one is left without it. the presence of something being accentuated by its absence. a hole in a heart. and the heart, as it travels over time, pumps. every pump, the heart leaks. a bit by bit. eventually a small pond of sorrow. much like the image of lorca when he entered monkey's world. coppery. the redness of it further accentuated by speckles of green. the green of late spring and early summer, shooting upward and outward, full of life.

and how did i get to green and red? well, much like reading george crumb's score for the first time, the notations and symbols seem unrelated. but lorca, de falla, crumb, the green hills of england, the current 'obsessive presence' of red in monkey's world, all somehow melted into a rich pool of... feelings larger than words. ooh.. and then a touch of saura (that would be carlos saura, whose been making some of the most beautiful films i have ever seen: bodas de sangre, carmen, el amor brujo, flamenco, tango, goya en burdeos, salome and iberia)... the 90' angle, straight forward, somewhat dry and iron-disciplined north american air around monkey have changed into something completely different. like alice, whenever she interacts with something she does not really understand. the external world morphs into something new, which in turn, changes the internal, inevitably.

simple mental objects, stewn all over the place, much like unkempt storage room. and all i need for this magical incantation was simple intonation set in green. the magic catalyst. i received some pictures from newly made friends from uk today- full of green spring british hills and bright memories, red-hot. a fragments from mr. salamander from awhile ago- a reflection in green. and with this sludge of rich decadence, i am a little sorrowful-melancholic. for something i miss, just for now, a bit. i miss IT and am affected by it.

but i am consoled (unlike that maiden in 'asturian') because by realizing its absence, i also realize how valueble it is for me. as the striking green leaves falling on the coppery red pool.

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