Unter Träumen
 

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The title comes from the fragment of text that the singer sings – a German translation of one of the last lines of W. B. Yeats’ poem Men Improve with the Years, from the 1919 collection, The Wild Swans at Coole. In the original English, the line is: ‘But I grow old among dreams’. In German: Aber ich altere mit unter Träumen.

Dreams, visions, meditations, the nocturnal… This kind of imagery has been cropping up in titles and texts associated with my music for a while now. In this piece, I think perhaps ‘dream’ stands as a larger metaphor for a confusion of material and imagery, both musical and extra-musical.

As I composed, a Sebaldian nexus of associations took shape in my imagination: the life of German- Irish composer Aloys Fleischmann (1910-1992), my paternal grandfather who knew him in Cork in the 1950s, fragments of my music that I associate with my grandfather (whom I never met), the German origins of my father’s side of the family, the voice, singing, the Irish harp, the early-twentieth-century Ireland of W. B. Yeats, my childhood affection for his poetry, his daughter-in-law Gráinne (an Irish harpist and singer for whom Fleischmann composed), history, memory…

The music doesn’t attempt to illustrate any of this. Rather, it is an entirely abstract response – a kind of searching, a working-out…

Unter Träumen was co-commissioned by Kaleidoscope Night and the Goethe Institute to act as a companion piece for The Poet’s Circuits by Aloys Fleischmann, to be performed by Janina Staub (soprano) and Clare McCague (Irish harp) at the Kaleidoscope Night presentation ‘Songs that Fall on the Turn’ in Dublin and Cork, May 2015.

Sub-title:
Instrumentation: female voice and lever harp
Duration: circa 8′
Date of composition: 2015
Co-commissioned by: Kaleidoscope Night and the Goethe Institute to act as a companion piece for The Poet’s Circuits by Aloys Fleischmann, to be performed by Janina Staub (soprano) and Clare McCague (Irish harp) at the Kaleidoscope Night presentation ‘Songs that Fall on the Turn’ in Dublin and Cork, May 2015.
First Performance:
Recording:
Score: Please email orders@ergodos.ie to obtain the latest score.