Canciones de Agua was composed between 2009-2012 for the German alto Ingeborg Danz and violinist Peter Stein as an anniversary gift, commissioned by Peter Stein’s father, Rolf Stein. The work was commissioned to accompany a series of paintings by Rolf Stein on the subject of water. The poems, all selected from Pablo Neruda’s posthumous The Sea and the Bells, were selected for their resonance or contrast with the paintings. They are set in the original Spanish. “Trino el Zorzal” is a description of a sunset, but the imagery is strangely martial, which I highlight in the setting, only resolving into peace at the conclusion of the song. “Perdon” is an ars poetica disguised as an apologia for the poet’s lack of vision and monotony. The setting seeks to highlight the monotony expressed in the text through a repeating, despondent accompaniment; however, the vocal line refuses to succumb, instead soaring above in increasingly graceful lines. “Gracias, violines” is a simple homage to the violin, and the setting seeks to do it justice. “Hoy cuantas horas” depicts the remorselessness of time and the eventual dissolution of all things. The accompaniment echoes that of “Perdon”, but now transformed into the upper register of the violin. It suggests the mechanical nature of time and slowly sinks along with the poetic imagery. The finale, “Un rio”, describes a river, starting small in the mountains and descending through wild rapids into a broad slow river as it reaches the sea. The movement is a tour de force for the violin, which characterizes the river in all of its transformations, from the gurgling stream to the wild youth to the mature river, finally evaporating into a shimmering mist.