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Simon Holt

Publisher: Chester Music

Era madrugada (1984)
commissioned by the Royal Institute of British Architects
Chester Music Ltd
Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
Year Composed
12 Minutes
Unavailable Explain this...
Programme Note
Simon Holt Era madrugada (1984)
Somewhere ‘between the night and the morning’ (era madrugada) in the Lorca poem Sorpresa, a man is discovered in the street – a knife through his chest. Nobody would look into his eyes – open on raw air. Who is he? Why is he there?

The piece is as much about this strange little poem as it is about that particular time of day.

© Simon Holt


Muerto se quedó en la calle
con un puñal en el pecho.
No lo conocía nadie.
Cómo temblaba el farol!
Cómo temblaba el farolito
De la calle!
Era madrugada. Nadie
Pudo asomarse a sus ojos
abiertos duro aire.
Que muerto so quedó en la calle
Que con un puñal en el pecho
Y que no lo conocía nadie.



The dead man lay in the street
With a knife in his chest.
No one knew who he was.
How the streetlamp trembled!
How the little streetlamp trembled!
Between the night and the morning.
No one could lean over his eyes open on raw air.
How come
This dead man lies in the street, what?
with a knife in his chest, and that no
one should know who he was?

  • Ensemble
    Nash Emsemble
    Fiona Kimm, mezzo-soprano
    Lionel Friend
  • Large Ensemble (7 or more players):
  • 22 NOV 2014
    Nash 50th Anniversary Season
    Wigmore Hall, London
    Nash Ensemble
  • 19 DEC 2008
    Orquesta de Alumnos de Musikene
    Estelles, conductor
  • 30 MAR 2004
    Simon Holt Portrait
    Granada, Spain
    Arantxa Armentia, mezzo; José Luis Estellés, conductor

    Other Dates:
    31 March - Seville, Spain
  • 14 NOV 2003
    Musikhøst (Music Harvest Festival)
    Carl Nielsen Academy of Music, Odense, Denmark
    Music Harvest Sinfonietta
    Stefan Asbury, conductor
  • 06 FEB 2003
    Music of Today
    South Bank Centre
    Philharmonia Orchestra
    André de Ridder, conductor
  • 13 OCT 2002
    Queen's Hall, Edinburgh
    Paragon Ensemble
    Garry Walker, conductor

    Other Dates:
    14 October - Glasgow Science Centre
  • 25 MAY 2002
    Era madrugada Country Premiere
    ENSEMS festival internacional de música contemporáanea
    Espai Moma, Valencia, Spain

…era madrugada took as its starting point the poem ‘Sorpresa’ by Lorca; a story about a murder. The music conveys this threat into a visual language of engaging narrative expressivity: it threatens, announcing danger…It is descriptive music with a narrator (the piano), accompanied by scenery (the rest of the group) and temporary signalling of the story (anticipation of action, eruptions, repetitive modes), all enveloped in a dramatic parabolic reading of contrasting desires. (Translated by Shelley Hughes)
Jesús Gonzalo, Diario de Sevilla,4/1/2004
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