out of the dead land [2014]

Marc Yeats - Composer

out of the dead land [2014]

to Ondrej Vesely

out of the dead land for solo guitar | Duration circa 14 minutes

out of the dead land 1


APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the archduke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

T.S. Eliot (1888–1965). The Waste Land. 1922.

out of the dead land 2

This is not a programmatic work [as may be suggested by the quote above]. I was drawn to the partial phrase ‘out of the dead land’ as an indicator of renewal, invention, bringing forth something from nothing. Even this isn’t true of the piece; the music was not born from ‘nothing’ – it was a transduction of ‘streaming’ for Kingma System quartertone alto flute. Indeed, the finished work has moved some way from its genetic ‘bedrock’, but the underlying interplay of four quavers set above a quintuplet of five quavers in the bar is a direct inheritance from said piece. Coupled with the intricacies of grace notes, extreme gestures and colour, it owes much of its exuberance and density to its forbare.

Marc Yeats: July 2014

out of the dead land 3