Ewan Mackay

the dreaming tree

composer's note

The Dreaming Tree Рfor Solo Flute, is a neo-impressionist work that draws inspiration from the life of a tree. Composed in 4 movements, this conceptual piece is not programmatic Рin the sense that each movement represents a season, but is rather built upon motivic ideas which recur and change as the piece progresses, in many ways representing the tree Рin its permanent, but also its impairment features. Influenced heavily by the flute works of Debussy and Takemitsu Рamong others, I have strived to compose a piece which is both engaging, but challenging to the player but also for the audience. 

Musically this piece could be described as sparse. In defence of this, the Japanese concept of Ma – notably used in Toru Takemitsu’s work, has been at the forefront of my mind in composing this piece. Ma is a concept that loosely translates to space, place, a gap, space of pause between to sections or parts. It is notably found in Buddhist traditions but found its place in art forms. Furthermore, the composer’s use of the idea of music and rest as one is an integral part of the music’s structure – in essence, the rests are equal to the music. This piece is an advanced level for flute performance, requiring excellent technique. Furthermore, I believe that the complexity conceptually forces the performer to delve deeper into the music to draw out the inner meaning of the piece, while also allowing for a large amount of personal interpretation as they work through the music from beginning to end.¬†

I wish to express that the production of this companion video was initially intended as a means to an end in the absence of the performer for the premiere. The result, however, has seen the creation of an abstract visual element to complement the music. Both the music and film are abstract and are not programmatically linked in any way.

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