D-re-A-mi-N-gl-Y : a setting of 5 poems by e.e. cummings

Ewers, Tim (2005) D-re-A-mi-N-gl-Y : a setting of 5 poems by e.e. cummings. (voice and instrumental ensemble). Score and compact disc. (Unpublished)


This work has evolved from a set of three songs into a single movement setting of 5 poems all based on the theme of dreaming. The research aims were to reflect the multi-layered nature of the chosen texts in musical terms and to incorporate sprechstimme, a technique that the dedicatee, Jane Manning, specialises in. The texts all refer to both dreaming and floating or weightless situations. The texts also operate on a number of different levels: the literal meaning; a sub-level of literal meaning created by the typographic breaking of words into parts, some of which have independent meaning and the level of the sounds of the words themselves. There is also a level of imagined meaning created by the use of symbols such as the final line of D-re-A-mi-N-gl-Y which consists entirely of punctuation marks. I have created a number of musical layers which reflect the text and also continue a compositional interest first established in ‘Strata’ (1979) and continued in ‘Escalation(1984)’, ‘Altiplano’ (1990) and ‘Blackheath Counterpoint’ (1992, Forward Music). The layers in this piece are: singing voice; sprechstimme voice; ostinatos; symmetrical chord progressions; and resonance. They have varying degrees of independence and are not continuous, overlapping in varying combinations throughout.

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