Loving Yew by Malcolm Smith

Home / Music / Compositions / Chamber / Loving Yew

Loving Yew for harmonium and voice (1998/2011) 2'26" [ The Yew tree in front of Michael's Folly in summer 1999 ]

This short piece was originally called "The Yew", being inspired by a WWOOF-ers' day at Michael's Folly in July 1998 which I spent up a ladder pruning/sculpting the Yew tree outside my round window. I wrote it on the harmonium there, but it could also be played on piano, organ, Mellotron, synthesiser, or be rearranged for other instruments.

An initially sorrowful sea shanty lament finds a spark of optimism which starts an ascending sequence of chords where one note of a triad rises by a semitone each bar (a reversed version of the descending piano chords of 'She Waits For Me In Heaven' from my Flute Sonata). This navigates through some scary keys with lots of flats, with the melody building in intensity to a jubilant ending returning to a major restatement of the initial theme.

Update 2011-06-16

While sifting through my recordings in preparation to remix this piece, some rather romantic lyrics manifested themselves while I was stalking courting my beloved, which have changed the name of the song and given it a whole new lease of life.

At first I thought I could try and pitch-shift the original harmonium recording into a better tempo and more suitable key for my voice, but even the best take is unsatisfactory. Then I wondered if I should instead practise my piano playing and try and re-record a live piano version, but alas, my own upright piano is not working very well and has sonic issues. So my best plan is to notate a new electronic version using Denemo (Lilypond frontend) playing Aeolus' very fine church organ sounds, which gives me the option of adding thunderous deep bass pedal notes at the end. This version is mostly complete, but I just need to add some tempo changes and dynamics to humanise the robotic rendition, then overdub the singing.

[Scores and recordings will eventually be available]

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike v3.0 Licence © The right to copy is left with the user copyleft Malcolm Smith 2004-12-23 - last updated 2012-12-16