Ewan Mackay

the darkling thrush

composer's note

The Darkling Thrush takes inspiration from the poem of the same name by Thomas Hardy, the landscape of the North-east, and also from the experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic. Hardy’s poem is pessimistic yet is filled with hope in the form of the thrush. I couldn’t help but draw parallels to the pandemic we have all had to endure. For me, it has been music itself that has provided hope and comfort in the midst of such bleakness. This simple little piece gives sound to these inspirations. The thrush could be represented by the rising and falling flourishes, yet the ever-present melancholic undertones keep the piece grounded. Ending on a single note, there is – at least to the composer, a sense of optimism in the final bar, and it is that optimism that will always prevail.

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