Inspired by the Spanish concept of convivencia, which means “coexistence” or “living together”, and refers to the practice in medieval Spain whereby Christians, Muslims, and Jews lived together in relative peace.  Not that the entire period of Muslim presence in Spain (711-1492) was marked by such peaceful coexistence.  Circumstances varied considerably by time, place, and the local monarch.  The center of convivencia was the city of Toledo, and its high point was the reign of Alfonso X (1252-1284) known as “the wise” not only for his own wisdom, but also for the multitude of scholars (Christian, Muslim, and Jewish) he drew to his court.
The Music presents a series of linked tableaux based on generic scenes rather than specific historical events.  It opens with the reflections of a philosopher in a tranquil garden (the improvisations of a solo guitar punctuated by anxious interjections from the string quartet). Music player
Following this, the theme of longing (played by the string quartet) portrays an imaginary lover pining for his beloved.  A prolonged battle interrupts this reverie before the music returns to the philosopher musing in his garden (a CADENZA for solo guitar).  Once again, these musings lead to the theme of longing, but this time the longing is followed by the theme of the lovers reunited, with which the piece concludes. Music player