Ewan Mackay

Reed songs

composer's note

I composed Reed Songs in direct response to the reed beds I encounter when walking by the harbour in Cruden Bay where I live – and take a great deal of my inspiration from. It was an intriguing idea for me to attempt to capture the motion, and feeling of the reeds as I encountered them. I was aware when I began to sketch the piece that Britten also talked at length about the Aldeburgh landscape, which is also famed for its natural beauty, the performer and listener may relate somewhat to Britten’s cello suites in this work, but that is for the listener to decide. Early into the composing process, I was further inspired by a poem titled ‘A Musical Instrument’ – written by Elizabeth Barrett Browning;

WHAT was he doing, the great god Pan, Down in the reeds by the river? 

Spreading ruin and scattering ban, 

Splashing and paddling with hoofs of a goat, 

And breaking the golden lilies afloat 

With the dragon-fly on the river. 

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