Pozgarria da

ensemble 0, Belarri, Kanbo, Euskal Herria (KD-2021-02)

Pozgarria da ('How wonderful it is') sets to music four poems by Father Bitoriano Gandiaga, an important figure in the history of the Basque Country.

What drawn me to these poems was the simplicity and depth with which they expressed gratitude, earth, death and joy. (Following an initial idea of setting to music three major concepts found in Gilbert Keith Chesterton's writing: gratitude, wonder and joy.)

Gratitude : recognizing that it is wonderful to know that you are alive.

Land : homeland, ancestors' land, motherland.

Death : everything is passing, the day, the night, we too, we pass away.

Joy : the grace of life, the joy of being alive, wishing joy to every living being.

There is also something reminiscent of childhood, especially in the instrumental segments of the second part (track 7), Maite dut bizitza ('I love life'), with its abundantly repeated little motif.

It is the simple and exuberant joy of the child who takes pleasure in repeating, sometimes without interruption, the same gesture, the same story, the same prank.

These instrumental segments were thought as if they formed a single long sequence in itself (track 9).

With the idea of a never-ending stream of joy, repeating a single two-chord sequence for as long as possible :


With an ornament on the second chord:


This continuous flow is interwoven with the vocal trio. It is Maite dut bizitza's final form. However, the reassembled sequences (track 10 applies the same process to the vocal trio), by shifting the listening perspective, reveal new musical aspects that would be unnoticed otherwise.

P. K.

Pozgarria da was commissioned by ensemble 0, Scène nationale du Sud-Aquitain, Institut Culturel Basque and Fonds de dotation Culture:Kultura for the celebration of Institut Culturel Basque's 30th anniversary.

Father Bitoriano Gandiaga (1928-2001)

(english translation by Kattalin Velez de Mendizabal)

Pozgarria da egun berrira

Pozgarria da egun berrira
beste behin iratzartzea
eta oraindik ere bizirik
naizela konturatzea.
Egun on, Jauna, eta eskerrak,
hauxe da berriz sortzea
eta tratuan berriz izaki-gizakiekin jartzea.

How wonderful it is
Waking up once again
To a new day that begins
And to be aware that I am still alive.
Good morning, Lord, and I thank you
For this is to be born again
And to connect with all beings and humans anew.

Lurra hartu dut esku barruan

Lurra hartu dut esku barruan,
eskutada lurra,
herriko neure lurra,
neure asaben lurra,
lurreko neure lurraren
lur puska ziurra.
Harriaren arreba
lurra hartu dut esku barruan,
euskaldunen ama lur,
uraren kideko lur,
suaren sostengu lur
zuraren orpoko lurra.
Lur hotza, lur beroa;
lur hila, lur bizia;
lur nabar, lur argia;
lur astun, lur arina;
lur samin, lur atsegin;
lur gogor, lur gozatsu;
lur iraindu, lur maite;
lur jator samurra.
Lurra hartu dut eskuan
mun emateko,
bularrean herstutzeko
Eta gero,
neure burua baino
gorago jasoz eskua,
burutik behera utzi dut
sorbaldaz behera jausten,
neure lur guztiz behera,
lurrezko bataioaren

I took the soil in my hand
A handful of soil,
Soil of my homeland,
Soil of my ancestors,
A sturdy piece of soil
From my ground.
I have soil inside my hand
Sister of the stone
Motherland of the Basque
Companion of water
Sustainer of fire
Bearer of wood.
Cold soil, warm soil;
Dead soil, lively soil;
Dun soil, bright soil;
Heavy soil, light soil;
Sour soil, kind soil;
Hard soil, fertile soil;
Insulted soil, loved soil;
Simple and faithful soil.
I took the soil in my hand
To kiss it,
Embrace it,
To hold it tight against my chest
For a long time.
And then,
Holding my hand
Above myself,
I let the soil fall onto my head,
Down to my shoulders,
Into the ground,
As a sign of a soil baptism.

Pasatzen dira hodeiak

Pasatzen dira hodeiak,
txoriak, gaua, eguna.
Pasatzen gara geu ere.
Pasatzen gara ta ez da
egundo inon geratzen
utzi beharko genukeen
eho genuen ehuna.

They pass,
The clouds, the birds, the night, the day
We are passing too.
We pass away,
But nothing stays where it should,
The cloth that we wove,
That we should have left.

Maite dut bizitza

Maite dut bizitza,
maite dut,
eta bizipoza opa diot
Bizipoza opa diot
bizi nazala dasaidan
Bizipoza bizirik
dakusdan inguruari.
Bizitzaren grazia
Bizi duen bizidun
orori opa diot

I love life,
I do,
And I wish life itself the joy of being alive.
I wish the joy of life
To my conscious that tells me to live.
The joy of life
To my surroundings that are alive.
I wish the joy of being alive
To everyone who lives the grace of life.