Encantos, 2010 Anthony Gilbert

Encantos, 2010 cover
14 mins 30 secs

Voice, accompanied Voice(s) & Larger Ensemble

1 Soprano, 1 Flute (=alto flute), 1 A Clarinet, 1 Trumpet in C, 1 Vibraphone, 1 Piano, 1 Violin, 1 Viola, 1 Violoncello

Purchasing options

Score ISMN 57036-178-6 £37.00 Buy now
Piano reduction ISMN 57036-180-9 £21.00 Buy now

soprano and chamber ensemble

Programme note

Spanish is a wonderful language to set – immensely singable, but also full of below-the-surface meaning, so in fact although translation of these six symbolist poems is at one level perfectly possible, the difficulty is to bring into English their hidden messages.  My hope is that it’s possible to do so in music, setting the original Spanish.  The cycle of poems concisely traces a young woman’s journey of self-discovery – of revelations at three levels:  emotional, creative and spiritual – and exposes the conflicts between them.  Magdalena Mismareza (= one who prays to herself) is the nom-de-plume of the writer of five of these poems, who prefers to remain anonymous.  Of these five, one, La Torbellina, springs from an anonymous poem of the 15th or 16th century.  The first line is the same, the last almost so, the expressed life’s aim rather more ambitious now.  Hueca (Mismareza’s title) is an anonymous poem from the same quinientos period.   From the cycle’s mid-point, the instrumental music becomes in each successive song less florid, more ostinato, ending with the quiet sound of bells.

1.  Tinos (senses):  the poet celebrates three stages of emergence into a new state of being using symbols of colour:  from dove-grey through roseate shades to a revelation in carmine.

2.  Frescura (cool):  a poem full of word-play and double meaning.  The young woman seeks to draw her inspiration – poetic, erotic, spiritual or all three – from the spirit of a spire, breathing in its silken exhalations in her imagination.

3.  Filis (grace):  body-language symbolising four stages in the discovery of physical (or it could be spiritual) love.

4.  La Torbellina (a woman as whirlwind):  rebellion at the thought of becoming a nun.  Whether or not a man wants me, it’s my poet’s cloak, not a nun’s habit, that will bring me tender fulfilment, for I’m a woman possessed.

5.  Hueca (a woman emptied):  alone and destroyed shall I go down to the waters of love and of sadness, and alone shall I bathe.

6.  Ensueño (reverie):  the abrasiveness of a nun’s habit is a sad substitute for her former silken robes, but dreaming of them brings, for an eternal moment, an ‘intrusion of happiness’.  Or maybe it’s all a dream.

Encantos (charms, spells) was originally composed for Marie Vassiliou and Endymion, delicately scored for clarinet, guitar and vibraphone. The present version for Marie and an ensemble of 8 instruments was made in 2010, specially for Ensemble 10/10, and received its first performance, directed by Clark Rundell, at The Cornerstone, Liverpool on 16th March 2011.

Marie Vassiliou, Ensemble 10/10 cond. Clark Rundell, The Cornerstone, Liverpool, 16th March 2011
  • 20 Jun 2018 | 7:30pm |

    Gilbert and Gorb Festival, at the RNCM.


    RNCM Concert Hall, 124 Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9RD


    RNCM New Ensemble

  • 5 Mar 2012 | 7:30pm |

    Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester


    Chloe Saywell (soprano), RNCM New Ensemble, cond. Mark Heron

  • 16 Mar 2011 | 7:30pm |

    'Continental Drift', The Cornerstone, Liverpool


    Marie Vassiliou (soprano), Ensemble 10/10 cond. Clark Rundell