The Wind Among the Reeds (2009-) [work in progress] song cycle on poems by William Butler Yeats for voice and guitar First performance (incomplete set): Juliet Fraser and Alan Thomas, National Portrait Gallery, London, 22nd May, 2009.
please email me if you're interested in performing this piece!
Being highly prone to maudlin idealisation of the past and all things out of reach, I'm a great fan of the poetry of William Butler Yeats. After setting a few of his poems to music, it dawned on me that the recurring themes in Yeats's work would lend themselves well to a song cycle form. The songs I set tell the story of a life, spanning youth to old age. Drawing on some of Yeats's favourite images and themes, the idea I had in mind was of a sort of "Dichterleben" (to misquote Schumann) made up of imaginary folksongs--in other words, newly composed songs in a generally Anglo-Irish folk music style. In fairness to Yeats, it should be said that while some of the songs are straightforward settings of single poems, others combine bits of different poems with my own words.
Though the work is still in progress, the songs so far are:
The Song of the Happy Shepherd
A Mother's Song
He Wishes He Were Anything Else But a Rhymer
Down by the Salley Gardens