Si Solamente... (2017)

Three songs on texts by Pablo Neruda

Soprano and Violoncello

Total duration ca. 22’

Published 2017 by Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP)

Three-movement work

I. A todos, a vosotros…

II. Barcarola

III. Me gustas cuando callas

Premiered on October 10, 2018 in Baltimore, MD

by Peter Dayton & Jerram John

Purchase this score from

Peter Dayton Music (ASCAP) for: $15

Listen to a performance of this piece on YouTube

Video by Rob Clatterbuck

These settings of Pablo Neruda’s poetry represent my first foray into non-English text setting in nearly a decade. Now, however, with these settings commissioned by Lauren Van Den Broek and Robert Kaufman, I have finally ventured into the rich poetry of South America. Neruda’s poetry ranges from the pastoral to the romantic and evocative, encompassing worlds in his apostrophes and images. The first poem, from Neruda’s “Canto General,” serves as a fitting opening to the song cycle. Address everyone “a todos, a vosotros,” earthly beings and spirits of the night, Neruda describes a universe of addressees for his songs, natural and human. The barcarolle, from “Residencia en la Tierra,” is a melancholy sea-scape of deeply romantic tone, mixing the desire of an unknown speaker who seems herself a sea-spirit, personifying loneliness and isolation in the setting of a desolate shore. The final poem, “Me gustas cuando callas,” is written in a rhyming, strophic manner that suggests, if not outright demands, a ballad-like setting. Starting with the unexpected premise that the poet likes it best when his beloved is quiet because they then seem absent, the ballad expands on the idea of desire and longing being predicated on distance, that the quietude of the lover fills the poet with the gratitude of being in love.


Texts by Pablo Neruda, permission granted by Fundación Pablo Neruda, represented by the Sociedad Chilena de Autores e Intérpretes Musicales (SCD). All Rights Reserved

“El Fugitivo XII” originally included in “Canto General” (1950)

“Barcarola” originally included in “Residencia en el Tierra, II” (1931)

“Me gustas cuando callas” originally included in “Viente poemas de amor y una canción desesperada” (1924)