Amor, el mar, y la noche

by Matthew Whittall

Empty sheet

Matthew Whittall

Amor, el mar, y la noche


Amor, el mar, y la noche (Love, the sea, and night) is a setting of thirteen Spanish-language poems by the Peruvian-Finnish poet Maritza Núñez. The intimate combination of female voice and viola da gamba seemed to demand words by a woman, about a woman’s experience and inner life. Maritza’s brief, aphoristic and atmospheric verses provided just the right tone for the quiet, personal dialogue I had in mind, and for the strong characterization Pia Freund brings to her performances. The work as a whole deals with themes of longing and leave-taking, beginning with an adumbration of parting, and exploring fragmentary feelings of love, romance, eros, loneliness, memory and joy, before ending with a sudden absence, all imagined across a single night. The songs themselves are equally fragmentary and oblique, leaving much unsaid. The soprano relates the dreamlike narrative from a traditional first-person perspective, with the viola da gamba shadowing her, acting as accompaniment, atmosphere, and embodying the silent partner to whom the words are addressed.

Amor, el mar, y la noche was commissioned by Pia Freund and Markku Luolajan-Mikkola with the generous assistance of the Häme Fund, and is dedicated to them. The work was premiered in October, 2013 at the Musiikkia Linnassa early music festival in Hämeenlinna, Finland.


Female voice, viola da gamba


Vocal and Choral Works


Pia Freund, soprano Markku Luolajan-Mikkola, viola da gambaHämeenlinna, October 12, 2013.

Commisioned by / dedications

Commissioned by Pia Freund and Markku Luolajan-Mikkola.

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