• fl, cl, tbn, perc, acn, egtr, pf, 2vn, va, vc, db
  • Soprano
  • 35 min

Programme Note

1. He Wishes his Beloved were Dead
2. The Old Men Admiring Themselves in the Water
3. The White Birds
4. These are the Clouds
5. Her Anxiety
6. That the Night Come

All six songs may be performed as a set. Other options include all but song 5; songs 1,2 and 3; or individual songs 1, 3 or 5.

For Dawn Upshaw

Composer note
That the Night Come is a large work especially written for Dawn Upshaw and the Crash Ensemble, consisting of six settings of poems by W.B. Yeats. Despite Yeats’s desire that composers should not really contradict his curious tone-deaf sing-song way of reading his poems, I have been drawn already a number of times to setting his words to music. His repeating obsessions with unattainable love (or at least unsustainable love), his longing for the fullness of experience, his anger at fleeting happiness and the certainty of time’s ravage and death are obsessions that I share.

There’s something about both the direct and ambiguous honesty of Yeats’s poetry that resonates deeply for me, especially, the older I get (I’m now 40), and the more my music is stained by experience. For me, life has turned out more intense than I expected when I was a young composer starting out. And that has deeply affected the music.

Just as Yeats often drew on Irish mythology in his poems, it might be helpful to know that the first and third songs draw loosely on the sean nós songs Táim Sínte Ar Do Thuama (I am stretched upon your grave) and An Clár Bog Déil (The Bog Deal Board) respectively.

That the Night Come was commissioned by Dawn Upshaw, with funds provided by the Arts Council of Ireland. Special thanks are due to Bob Hurwitz for introducing my music to Dawn and very much encouraging our collaboration.

— Donnacha Dennehy, Dublin, October 2010




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