Ewan Mackay

Dream-land

composer's note

Dream-Land was directly inspired by the music of Claude Debussy and Toru Takemitsu. In the early stages of the sketching process, I came across a poem by Edgar Allen Poe. This poem was to have a marked impact upon the creative process and the work as a whole. From the first, I wanted to compose an impressionist work, but also one which could be in the most minute sense programmatic – I’m not particularly comfortable with the idea of telling the listener what to think, feel or hear, and nor am I comfortable with writing suggestive music. Nevertheless, I was greatly inspired by Poe’s words in the process of composing this piece.

By a route obscure and lonely,

Haunted by ill angels only,

Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,

On a black throne reigns upright,

I have reached these lands but newly

From an ultimate dim Thule—

From a wild weird clime that lieth, sublime,

Out of SPACE—Out of TIME.

The form of this work is simple – ternary form, with the main motif, heard first in the Piano – I have tried to explode, then expand upon this simple melody. As the work progresses, I vary the theme, passing it around the ensemble, playing with colour, timbre, light and dark. I believe that I have created a piece which when taken at face value may seem rather simple, but when one delves deeper, it is actually far more complex than previously thought. That being said, I have endeavoured to give the individual lines room to breathe. I also believe that the clarity of each of these lines adds to the overall character of the piece.

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