Psalter, Oxford ca. 1200-1220. British Library
Dream of the three kings (Saltiri, Psalter, Oxford ca. 1200-1220. British Library)
 
2017 has just arrived, so first of all, my dearest, I would like to wish you a fantastic and very musical year.

This is the third and last Christmas post of this season (next week we’ll get back back to normal with a guest post) and is dedicated, like the last one, to the Three Holy Kings. They are about to arrive! In my previous post, we celebrated the Epiphany in the German way; A friend told me not long ago that German children still spent that day going from house to house, disguised as the Kings and singing songs. This week we're celebrating in my local style, with the image of children going to bed. Children are extremely excited the eve of the Epiphany, because that night, while they're sleeping, the Kings bring them their gifts; When they get up (very early in the morning, my poor parents!) they'll find out if their wishes came true. As you can imagine, they can hardly fall asleep, as far as they know, if the Kings find them awake, they won't leave any gifts. (I remember covering my head with the bedsheet if I heard footsteps or noise during the night...). So, taht night, children need a cradle song more than ever.

Last week, the poem and the song are a hundred years apart. This week, however, the song was probably written when the ink of the poem had hardly dried; according to the poet Apel·les Mestres, Enric Granados used to mess up his poems in order to musicalize them. Mestres and Granados were old and close friends; they also were neighbours (the writer often "complained" because Granados and his piano didn’t allow him to concentrate when writing) and the composer used to intrude on the poet's study looking for raw material for his songs. We know six Granados' songs from Mestres' poems, but we know for sure there were some more; they could have been written for informal, private parties and nobody cared about collecting them. Maybe a manuscript will appear some day, who knows.

Among these six songs, three of them are about the Three Holy Kings: Cançó de gener (January song) I and II, both from the same poem, and Cançoneta (Little song), our song today. It's a lullaby talking about the Three Kings and toys, tiny and beautiful as the child to whom Mestres dedicated his verses; the children we love are always beautiful. We're listening to Carol Garcia and Ruben Fernandez Aguirre; it's the version included in the new recording of the songs of Granados, released only a few days ago by Classical IBS.

Be good and, tomorrow, go to bed early so as the Kings don't pass by your home!
 
 
Cançoneta
 

Dorm, nineta, dorm, que els Reis vindran.
Si han de dur-ne, de joguines, los Sants Reis,
per la joia del meu cor!
Dorm!

Dorm, nineta, dorm, que els Reis vindran.
Ompliran de joguines los balcons
de la reina del meu cor!
Dorm!

Sleep, little one, sleep, the Three Kings are going to
come the Holy Kings are going to bring toys
for the joy of my heart!
Sleep!

Sleep, little one, sleep, the Three Kings are going to
come They are going to fill the balconies with toys
for the princess of my heart!
Sleep!


(translation by Gordon Burt)

 
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