« Without arms, how am I to open the gate of Light? », sings the child who was not lucky enough to be born, in the last of the four poems of this work. In just a few lines, Federico Garcia Lorca reveals an unknown world, and enables us to hear the voice of the child held in the limbo of that death so rarely spoken about : the death that precedes life.
So, the puerta de la Luz (door of Light), this door that opens onto existence or closes in darkness, occupies here a central position (together with the theme of childhood), even if it is only explicitly mentioned in the last Little song of the child that was not born.
The cycle opens with the Romance de la luna, luna, also by Garcia Lorca : a dying child talks with a cold and mocking moon whitch finally triumphs over the tiny being, and, holding its hand, carries it away through the sky.
This text from the Romancero gitano is full of colours, movements, and evocations of sounds : hence the breathless ride of the horseman is illustrated by an intensified harmonic increase with the twelve voices resounding in imitation of the impact of horse’s hooves on the ground (« tocando el tambor de llano »)
The second and third pieces are based on two poems by Antonio Machado.
Una noche de verano deals with the theme of death accomplishing its mission. A man is observing the scene and does not understand that the link is broken between him and his young daughter until it is too late. This man could be a father but in fact it is Machado himself who, in this texte, is lamenting the death of his very young wife. An almost static musical veil descends upon the entire scene ; it is underlined by the reiteration of a chord containing a minor third, the gently insistent character of which tends to emphasise the calm despair of this particularly sober text.
Era un niño que soñaba is really a parable dealing with the fragile boudary between the world of dreams and reality. It is treated after the manner of a light-hearted, playful nursery rhyme, where the central passage calling for much vocal virtuosity recalls the plaintive injunctions of the child threatening the moon at the beginning of the work. This dramatic reminder throws the carefree atmosphere of the nursery rhyme off balance and heralds a race-like final section, disturbing and breathless, which poses this crucian underlying question : on which side of death is reality to be found ? Where is the true light : beyond the door or on this side of it ?