On "An Eala Bhàn" -
article: "An Eala Bhàn ('The White Swan') is a Scottish Gaelic love
song composed by Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna during the Battle of the Somme. It
is addressed to Magaidh NicLeòid (Maggie MacLeod), his sweetheart at the
time of World War I."
The 1916 Battle of
the Somme was horrific, with an estimated million dead and wounded. This
ballad, which has become well known and beloved, sings with rue: "Sad
I consider my condition / With my heart engaged with sorrow / From the very
time that I left / The high bens of the mist...." Beauty mingles
with sadness in a time of madness as trench warfare in all its brutality was
visited on so many men. Thus the cadence at this end of this treatment of
the melody ends with a hushed dissonance. The filigree of decorations are
drawn from piper's gestures.
Another of this
poet's works testifies: "What I’d said proved true: / Hundreds were
undone; / The earth erupted / And the skies went crazy."
pages, circa 4' 30" - an MP3 demo is here:
The score is available as a free PDF download, though any major
commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior
arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano