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(Vocal sextet: 2 Sopranos / Mezzo-Soprano / 2 Tenors / Bass) 7'

Preview score

Premiered by the phenomenal Variant 6 on May 4, 2021

Programme note



By Brenda Cárdenas


You shout my name

from beyond my dreams,

beyond the picture window

of this Rosarito beach house.

Rushing from bed to shore

I glimpse their backs—

volcanoes rising out of the sea.

Your back, a blue-black silhouette,

feet wet with the wash of morning waves.

Fountains spring from mammal minds,

my hands lifting a splash of sand.

I'm on my knees,

toes finding a cool prayer

beneath them, fingers pressing

sea foam to my temples,

while you open arms wide as a generation,

raise them to a compass point,


If you could reach them,

you would ride their fins

under the horizon,

then surf the crash of waves

left in their wake.

And if I could grasp

my own fear,

I'd drown it,

leave it breathless and blue

as this ocean,

as the brilliant backs

of whales


for air.


"Song" by Brenda Cárdenas, published in The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry by University of Arizona Press. Copyright 2007 by Brenda Cárdenas.

Set with permission of the author.

Song - a piece by composer Gemma Peacocke
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