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Bajo la Gótica Ventana

Image: Mission San Juan Capistrano.  Public domain image from The Library of Congress.

Another choral piece, with a demo sound file of computer generated choral ahs, so you'll have to imagine how an actual performance would sound.  I hope this will be of interest at least as an example of a nearly forgotten musical tradition.  As always, comments welcome.

Bajo la Gótica Ventana (“Under the Gothic Window”) is a survival of the rich but today little known folk song tradition of the Californios (the Spanish settlers of pre-statehood California.) The song is very poorly attested: the only text source I have been able to find is in the 1922 songbook pamphlet Early Spanish-California Folk-Songs (a typical “parlor piano” songbook for home use) by Eleanor Hague and Gertrude Ross, who report it to have been collected in Santa Barbara, and I have not been able to find any reference to a recording of it. The basic melody, Spanish lyrics, and rather free English translation are taken from that book; the present choral harmonization and arrangement is by me.

Perhaps best accessed at MuseScore Bajo la Gótica Ventana, where the score can be seen along with the sound file.

Alternatively, score pdf and audio mp3 attached below.

The lyrics are in the score, but I also include them here:

Bajo la Gótica Ventana

Era la noche: bajo la Gótica ventana
de una hermosa Castellana
suspira ba un trobador.
Y al sonoro son del arpa, a sí cantando decía,
"Vuele a tí, querida mía,
este suspiro de'amor.

De mi triste desconsuelo, ten piedad, noble señora!
Sólo tu piedad implora,
tu respetuoso amador.
Nunca mi pasión quisiste, Beldad, que admiro
y'adoro, mientras mi postrer suspiro;
será un suspiro de'amor.

Under the Gothic Window


Dark was the ev’ning, under the sculptured Gothic window
of a deep eyed Castilian beauty
mournfully sighed a troubadour.
On his harp he played with fervor, singing these words with tender meaning,
“Darling to thee my thoughts are winging;
love’s grief upon the air I pour.

Take pity on my lamentation!
Ah, noble lady, show thy mercy! Thy mercy I am imploring,
thy rev’rent suitor am I,
Never has my passion pleased thee, beauty much honored and adored,
while my deep sighs of true devotion
float up to thee as I die.

English version by Eleanor Hague and Gertrude Ross

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Thanks Jon for bringing these older traditions back to life again. Gives one a sense of the emotion felt by the lone suitor as he 

expresses his feeling at the end of his life.

Thanks for commenting.  I wish I could find more Californio songs, but the short book mentioned in the score is the only source I've found. 

Timothy Smith said:

Thanks Jon for bringing these older traditions back to life again. Gives one a sense of the emotion felt by the lone suitor as he 

expresses his feeling at the end of his life.

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