'Poema en forma de canciones':
Encounters in Hispanic Letters and Song

7 Oct 2020, 7.00pm


St John the Divine

92 Vassall Rd, Vassal, Kennington, London SW9 6JA

Nearest tube: Oval


In Advance


£12 Concessions

£10 Members of ILAMS

Free to Friends of Echoes Festival

(click HERE to join)

On the Door


£16 Concessions

£14 Members of ILAMS

Free to Friends of Echoes Festival

(click HERE to join)



0800 411 8881 (lines open 24/7)

'So beautiful!'

BBC Radio 4 (Woman's Hour)

'For each poem there exists only one true musical setting; the rest are fakes. The challenge is to find it.'​

Arturo Menéndez Aleyxandre

For millennia, music and poetry have been inextricably linked. 'Both may excel apart,' said Henry Purcell, 'but are most excellent when joined, for they appear like wit and beauty in the same person.' Wilhelm Müller considered his poems enjoyed 'only half a life: a paper existence in black and white, until music awakens and animates them with a breath of life.' In antiquity, poems were often sung; a tradition which has survived across the Hispanic world to the present day. The ballads and cantares sung by wandering troubadours of Medieval Spain would be re-born in the 19th-century New World in the mouths of Argentine payadores who improvised their own brand of epic poetry to the accompaniment of strummed guitars; a practice continued by folk musicians of 20th-century Venezuela, against the backdrop of música llanera, the music of the plains.

Inspired by Joaquín Turina's Poem in Song Form on an eponymous text by Ramón de Campoamor, this programme explores the captivating world of Hispanic art song, drawing on a rich dialogic tradition between some of greatest pillars of Hispanic art music and letters, including four Nobel Prize winners. Encounters between literary giants such as Cervantes, Lorca and Borges with Great Composers such as Rodrigo, Ginastera and Piazzolla have borne some scintillating interactions between text and music. Beyond the inherently musical devices of poetry per se, many of the featured texts also contemplate the nature of music itself, breaking down boundaries between literary and musical forms, and elucidating the symbiotic relationship between the two in various self-reflexive ways. In celebration of the 2020 centenary of Mario Benedetti, the programme concludes with a setting by Favero of his Por qué cantamos - giving the final word to the great Uruguayan writer who poses (and answers) a fundamental question: 'Why do we sing?'

We invite you to join us to discover the compelling voices of writers and composers spanning five centuries from various 

corners of the Hispanic world, including Spain, Cuba, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay and Mexico, presented by two pre-eminent Spanish-British artists specialising in this repertoire: soprano Lorena Paz Nieto and pianist Helen Glaisher-Hernández. Including spoken word alongside the musical perfomances, the evening promises a host of lyric revelations.


Joaquín Turina / Ramón de Campoamor Poema en forma de canciones

Fernando Obradors / Miguel de Cervantes Canciones clásicas españolas

Frederic Mompou / San Juan de la Cruz Cantar del alma

Manuel García Morante / Santa Teresa de Avila Exclamaciones de Santa María de Jesús

Joaquín Rodrigo / Lope de Vega Pastorcito santo

Rodolfo Halffter / Rafael Alberti Marinero en tierra

Antonio Estévez / Juan Ramón Jiménez Canciones otoñales

Miquel Ortega / Federico García Lorca Poema del cante jondo

Joaquín Rodrigo / Antonio Machado Con Antonio Machado

Carlos Guastavino / Luis Cernuda Donde habita el olvido

Alicia de Larrocha / Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer Mi vida es un erial

Milena Perisic / Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Esta tarde mi bien

Federico Ruiz / Alberto Arvelo Torrealba Piezas para niños menores de cien años

Teresa Carreño / Alphonse Marie Louis de Lamartine Feuillet d'album

Roberto Valera / Roberto Fernández Retamar Filin

Roberto Valera / José Martí Flor de mi seno

Alejandro Caturla / Alejo Carpentier Poemas afrocubanos

Emilio Grenet / Nicolás Guillén Quirino con su tres

Gonzalo Roig / Cirilo Valverde Cecilia Valdés

Sergio Ortega / Pablo Neruda Los cantos del Capitán

Lía Cimaglia / Gabriela Mistral Botoncito

Carlos Guastavino / Jorge Luis Borges Milonga de dos hermanos

Alberto Ginastera / Silvina Ocampo Las horas de una estancia

Ariel Ramírez / Félix Luna after Alfonsina Storni Mujeres argentinas

Astor Piazzolla / Horacio Ferrer after Gabriel García Márquez Années de solitude

Alberto Favero / Mario Benedetti Por qué cantamos


Lorena Paz Nieto soprano

Helen Glaisher-Hernández piano

Organised by ILAMS as part of Echoes Festival 2020 in collaboration with the Instituto Cervantes, with the kind support of Ribera del Duero

SNEAK PEEK! Lorena Paz Nieto performing 'Yo soy María' in

                           the trailer for Theatre Lübeck's current

                           production of Piazzolla's María de Buenos Aires

Transparent 1 ILAMS MASTER  logo colour

Background video: Iguazú falls on the border between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay