by Roslyn Mackay,
author of "W. B. Yeats and the Upanishads"
Doug Saum’s 2CD set comprises his musical arrangements for W B Yeats’ poems. They open the listener to the reflective and wide-ranging nature of these last songs, their philosophy and insight. They are last songs not only for the poet but also for the composer in this final of ‘Saum Sings Yeats’ series.
The music provides a magical accompaniment to the verses. It blends styles, instruments and voices and ranges in tone through whimsy and passion to uproar and reflection. It displays Doug Saum’s own personal journey through and convincing ownership of these works.
In the booklet accompanying the disks Doug Saum states his aim to catch the tone of Yeats’ philosophy: ‘He invites the Cold Eye to pass him by as he welcomes human sympathies. Drink it in with me?’
The arrangements supply the poems with a fresh and stimulating approach, granting a wide audience access to the vast philosphy embedded in Yeats’ last work. There Yeats fosters the meeting of ways of thinking of East and West.
The second CD of the set - which includes Yeats’ twelve all-embracing ‘Supernatural Songs’ and the monumental translation of ‘Ten Principal Upanishads’ - astonishes with its originality and vision. It is a genuine meeting of East and West. A wide audience of Yeats’ readers, of music lovers and of Indians is assured.