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PN Review 276
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This article is taken from PN Review 272, Volume 49 Number 6, July - August 2023.

El Puerto de Guadarrama Jane Duran
‘Tengo de pasar el puerto, el puerto de Guadarrama,
déjame pisar la nieve que pisó la serrana.

‘I have to walk through the pass, the Guadarrama pass.
Let me step on the snow where the mountain girl walked.’


On 28 March 2023 the moving folksong El Puerto de Guadarrama was performed by the guitarist Samuel Diz and sung by the tenor Jonatan Alvarado at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid, at an event entitled ‘Música y Poesía en la Residencia, del Mediterráneo de Cavafis al de Gustavo Durán’. The event drew together three strands of my father’s story: his music; his role as a Republican officer in the Spanish Civil War; and, towards the end of his life, his translations of Cavafy’s poetry.

My father’s source for the words and melody of El Puerto de Guadarrama was the Cancionero musical popular español, the songbook compiled by Felipe Pedrell, one of Spain’s foremost collectors of folk music. The harmonies and arrangement for the song were composed by my father for the piano in Cuba in June 1944, just a few months before my birth in Havana. Its musical notation in his meticulous handwriting, together with his other musical compositions, letters and photographs, are all conserved in the Gustavo Durán Archive at the Residencia de Estudiantes in Madrid.

But the song, so full of longing, has other associations for me. Republican troops sang this at the front during the Spanish Civil War. The Guadarrama is ...


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