A Belén

Text: 

Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz
This is a quasi-dramatic piece portraying the journey of the shepherds to Bethlehem, and the singing of the angels that accompany them. This was written for inclusion in a concert of Mexican Baroque music, and is accompanied by viola da gamba (a precursor of the cello), and the vihuela da mano (a small early Spanish guitar). The text was written by a 17th-century Mexican nun named Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, who was a astoundingly prolific author of villancico texts.

Commissioned by: 

The Rose Ensemble

Published by: 

Fresh Ayre Music
Item Voicing Perusal scores/Recordings Price
FAM-0030-01 SATB (div) , Soli

performed by The Rose Ensemble
$3.75

Text:

A Belén

1. ¿A dónde vais, Zagales? / Where are you going, Shepherds?
2. A Belén, a ver maravillas que son para ver. / To Bethlehem, to see something wonderful.
1. Decidnos, Zagales, ¿cómo lo sabéis? / Tell us, Shepherds, how do you know about this?
2. En los aires lo cantan los Ángeles con voces sonoras. / The Angels are singing it in the air with beautiful voices.
¡Oíd, atended! / Listen!

Coplas / Verses

Hoy veréis en un portal / Today you will see in a stable
la Palabra enmudecida, / the silent Word,
la Grandeza en pequeñez, / Greatness made small,
la Inmensidad en mantillas. / and Immensity wrapped in a swaddle.
Todos – ¡Qué maravilla! / All – How amazing!

De una Estrella nace el Sol, / From a Star the Sun is born,
el Mar se estrecha a una orilla, / the Sea narrows at the shore,
y una Flor en otra flor, / and from a Flower within a flower
infante Fruto se anima. / the young Fruit comes to life.
Todos – ¡Qué maravilla! / All – How amazing!

El Impasible padece, / The Impassible one suffers,
el Fuego ardiendo se enfría, / the ardent Fire cools down,
la Divinidad se humana / the Divine is made human
y la Rectitud se inclina. / and Rectitude gives in.
Todos – ¡Qué maravilla! / All – How amazing!

De Quien todos tiemblan, tiembla; / That whom all fear, He now shivers
baja la Soberanía, / Sovereignty descends,
enflaquécese el Valor / courage weakens
y llora la misma Risa. / and Laughter weeps.
Todos – ¡Qué maravilla! / All – How amazing!

1. ¿A dónde vais, Zagales? / Where are you going, Shepherds?
2. A Belén, a ver maravillas que son para ver. / To Bethlehem, to see something wonderful.
1. Decidnos, Zagales, ¿cómo lo sabéis? / Tell us, Shepherds, how do you know about this?
2. En los aires lo cantan los Ángeles con voces sonoras. / The Angels are singing it in the air with beautiful voices.
¡Oíd, atended! / Listen!

La tierra es un Cielo ya / Earth is heaven
en esta Noche que es Día; / in this Night that is Day.
el Eterno es temporal, / the Eternal is temporal,
y es muerte lo que fue Vida. / and death what once Life was
Todos – ¡Qué maravilla! / All – How amazing!

La Verdad hoy se disfraza, / Today Truth is disguised,
la Fuerza se debilita, / Strength weakens,
la Omnipotencia se abrevia / Omnipotence debilitates,
y clara la Luz se eclipsa. / and the clear Light overshadows.
Todos – ¡Qué maravilla! / All – How amazing!

Ya la Riqueza es pobreza, / Wealth becomes poverty,
y el Poderoso mendiga, / and the Powerful one begs,
y el León, que siempre vence, / and the lion, who always wins,
Cordero se sacrifica. / is sacrificed as a Lamb.
Todos – ¡Qué maravilla! / All – How amazing!

Hombres: escuchad prodigios / Men, listen to these prodigies
que son mas que humanas dichas: / that are beyond the human:
Dios es Hombre, el Hombre es Dios, / God is Man and man is God,
que entre sí se comunican. / and beween them they communicate.
Todos – ¡Qué maravilla! / All – How amazing!

1. ¿A dónde vais, Zagales? / Where are you going, Shepherds?
2. Atended! / Listen!

El que no tuvo principio, / The one who does not have a beginning,
su ser en tiempo principia; / his being in time starts

(translation by Ana Adams)