Classical Caber: “Eclogue No. 4”

It’s been a while since I’ve posted one of Dirk’s compositions, but since it’s the first Monday of the new year, Dirk and I want to start the year off right by sharing another one with you! Posted above is Eclogue No. 4, one of a series of nine eclogues that my hubby has written. Here’s Dirk’s explanation of its origins:

openquote
The Eclogues were my earliest experiments in orchestration, each using a particular variation on a chamber orchestra of not more than 24 or 25 players. Each was based loosely on a literary source, usually a poem. Eclogue No. 4, which I wrote in 1992, draws on a sonnet by Edna St. Vincent Millay:

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply,
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone,
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

All of the musical material is derived from a “folk song” tune I’d written to approximate a setting of the poem, but this tune isn’t played in its entirety until presented by the English horn, all alone, at nearly the end of the piece. Until that final solo, Eclogue No. 4 is a slow “thinning” of material for most of its duration, reflecting the increasing sense of loneliness of the text.

Only three of Dirk’s Eclogues have ever been recorded: Nos. 4, 6, and 7. (I’ve already posted Eclogue No. 6, a lush pastoral piece that reminds me of our recent trip to Ireland.) We’re exploring the possibility of starting a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to record the other six, and then releasing the entire collection on iTunes and CD… watch this space for details. In the meantime, check out Dirk’s other compositions on SoundCloud, and click here to share his SoundCloud page with your Facebook friends!

Eclogue No. 4 Image

I think this picture sums up the themes in Eclogue No. 4 rather perfectly, don’t you?


13 replies
  1. Lyne Beausejour
    Lyne Beausejour says:

    This just made my day. I had the Monday blues…it will be -31F wind chill tonight Montreal..this piece will defitnately be playing tonight while I sit in front of the fireplace. Is it planned to put the music on iTunes soon, I was only able to get Nocturne and nothing else :(. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Reply
  2. Mike
    Mike says:

    This is the type of music that I can curl up with a good book and listen to all day long, or work on a paper that is due for one of my classes in my PHD program. Also just listening to it when I want to go to that place to be alone space.

    Reply
  3. rhonda
    rhonda says:

    Have ya’ll thought about renting some studio time and releasing a cd of Dirks music ?I know I would buy one , and this piece is so peacefull and I don’t now if the term summery is what I want to say , but its what I think of .

    Reply
    • Jesse
      Jesse says:

      We have indeed. The problem is that renting the studio space — not to mention paying the recording engineers and musicians (for both practice and recording time) — can get incredibly expensive. And that’s before distribution fees! In order to record and offer all nine Eclogues, for example, which amount to about 1 CD of music, we’re probably looking in the $30,000 range. That’s where the crowdsourcing idea comes in. We could ask people to donate money and get a copy of the music when it’s completed in return. Unless you know an orchestra that would be willing to donate its time…

      Reply
  4. Isaías Ramos García
    Isaías Ramos García says:

    reminds me more than a litle to Debusy. Nowadays with a keyboard 1 can do almost a.t.Your huby is a genious (clearly he has great knowledge of music). More than 1ce i have comed! upon porn stars who are much more than a face & body

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Many of your songs, especially the Eclogues, would go very well as scoring in a film. Is that something you’d like to do […]

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