In August 2008 my daughter Sam married Mike, at Kingston Maurward House. It was a fabulous occasion, and I was charged with doing all the music. As well as arranging a Beatles number (All You Need Is Love) for a capella choir and Heather-on-trumpet, and a chamber choir version of Blaydon Races (Mike and all his family - bar one, I seem to remember - are all avid Newcastle United supporters. Blaydon Races is the club's adopted song), I set a poem chosen by Sam & Mike - a love poem by Pablo Neruda (words below). The original setting is for a capella choir and, more than the other music, took much effort to put together, on the day, ready for performing in the very heart of the marriage ceremony. My friends who had volunteered to sing in this little choir were absolutely brilliant, and all went well, much to my relief.
Since this day, and just in time for Sam & Mike's seventh wedding anniversary on August 3rd, 2015, I transcribed/arranged the music for violin & piano. Yet to be performed, this 'performance' is courtesy of the EastWest Sound library:
Your Presence (my title for the poem)
Maybe nothingness is to be without your presence,
without you moving, slicing the noon
like a blue flower, without you walking
later through the fog and the cobbles,
Without the light to carry in your hand,
golden, which maybe others will not see,
which maybe no one knew was growing
like the red beginnings of a rose.
In short, without your presence: without your coming
suddenly incitingly, to know my life,
gust of a rosebush, wheat of wind:
since then I am because you are,
since then you are, I am, we are,
and through love I will be, you will be, we'll be.
Pablo Neruda From 100 Love Sonnets - Cien sonetos de amor (translated by Stephen Tapscott)
The subject of the poet’s love is his “beloved wife”
In his native Chile and throughout Latin America, Neruda has always been cherished as dearly for the earthy sensuality and eroticism of his love poetry as for his statements of political belief.