Songs of Nezahualcoyotl

This piece is scored for soprano and tenor soloists, SATB choir and electronics. It is based on three Nahuatl texts attributed to the great philosopher, poet and ruler Nezahualcoyotl (1402–72). I wanted to use non-European poetry composed during the Renaissance to complement the early music ensemble’s standard repertoire, while also using contemporary vocal techniques and electronics. This piece is dedicated to Will Cooper, Alice de Simone, Tucker Fischer and the UC Davis Early Music Ensemble.




I Nic Quetza Tohuehueh

Nic quetza tohuehueuh
niquin nechicohua
Tocnihuan on in melelquiza,
niquin cuicatia.
Tiyazque ye yuhcan
Xi quilnamiquican.
Xi ya mocuiltonocan.
Aya! In tocnihuan.
Ohuaya Ohuaya!
In cuix oc no ihuiyan,
canon ye yuhcan?
Cuix oc no ihuiyan canon ximohuayan?
Aye! Ohuaya Ohuaya!
Ma tihuiyacan.
Yece ye nican in xochinahuatilo,
yece ye nican in cuicanahuatilo,
Xi mocuiltonocan xi moquimilocan a in tocnihuan.
Ohuaya Ohuaya!

II Nonantzin Ihcuac

Nonantzin ihcuac nimiquiz
Mitlecuilpan xinechtoca;
Ihcuac tiaz titlaxcalchihuaz
Ompa nopampa xichoca.
Ihuan tla acah mitztlatlaniz:
“Nonantzin, tleca tichoca?”
Xiquilhuiz ca xoxohui in cuahuitl
Ihuan in techochoctia ica ceceneca popoca

III Tixiutototl

Ti xiuhtototl ti tlauhquechol
ti ya patlantinemi
Moyocoya ipal nemohuanti:
ti mohuihuixohua
ya timotzetzelohua
nican moqui nochan
moqui noqualla, imancan
Ohuyah Ohuyah!


I erect my drum,
I assemble my friends.
Here they find recreation,
I make them sing.
Thus we must go over There.
Remember this.
Be happy.
Aya! Oh my friends!
Ohuaya Ohuaya!
Perhaps now with calm,
and thus it must be over there?
Perhaps there is also calm there in the bodyless place?
Aye! Ohuaya Ohuaya!
Let us go.
But here the law of the flowers governs,
here the law of the song governs,
here on earth.
Be happy, dress in finery, oh friends.
Ohuaya ohuaya!
 Little mother of mine, when i die
Bury me beneath your hearth
When you go there to make tortillas,
You will cry for me
And if someone were to ask you:
“Little mother of mine, why do you cry?”
Tell them that the firewood is still green
And the smoke makes you cry
 You, azure bird, shining parrot,
you walk flying.
Oh, highest arbiter, life giver:
You extend yourself here
filling my dwelling
filing my house, here.
Ohuayah Ohuayah!

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