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Merlin Cover Design





Music by: Andrew Thomas
poem by: Edwin Arlington Robinson

Published through: Shawnee Press

-selections from Merlin

"GAWAINE, GAWAINE, what look ye for to see,
So far beyond the faint edge of the world?
D'ye look to see the lady Vivian,
Pursued by divers ominous vile demons
That have another king more fierce than ours?
Or think ye that if ye look far enough
And hard enough into the feathery west
Ye'll have a glimmer of the Grail itself?
And if ye look for neither Grail nor lady,
What look ye for to see, Gawaine, Gawaine?"

.....Time's way with you and me
Is our way, in that we are out of Time
And out of tune with Time.

Edwin Arlington Robinson (December 22, 1869 – April 6, 1935)

This work takes its inspiration from Edwin Arlington Robinson's ‘Merlin,’ a long narrative poem which evokes King Arthur's court and its progress into destruction. In the first movement, the knight Gawaine is looking towards the horizon, sensing the terrible events to come. The music is spectral and ambiguous. The second movement is concerned with time and the dissolution of order during time's passage. Here the perceived downbeat of the music constantly shifts, creating a flickering texture with no resting point.

I have used two quotes from the poem to set the tone of the two movements of the score.

Merlin was commissioned by and is dedicated to William Moersch who premiered the score at Merkin Concert Hall in New York City in March 1987.

- A.T.

Lines from Merlin are reprinted with permission of Macmillan Publishing Company from “Collected Poems” of Edwin Arlington Robinson. Copyright 1917 by Edwin Arlington Robinson, renewed 1945 by Ruth Nivison.

Commission & premiere: 1985 Merkin Concert Hall, New York City, William Moersch

Recordings: The Modern Marimba - William Moersch - 1993
Woodcuts - Nancy Zeltsman - 1995
Marimba Dance - Katarzyna Mycka - 1999
Fields: American Music for Marimba - Filippo Lattanzi - 2001
Red Dragonfly - Fumito Nunoya - 2008
Greg Giannascoli - Velocities
Marta Klimasara - I Ching
and others