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Program note: Where the Lilies Grow David Lumsdaine

  • Song Company
  • Source: The Song Company New Music Series 1994 War and Peace June 1994

Where the Lilies Grow David Lumsdaine (b. 1931)
Australian composer David Lumsdaine is not as well known in his own country as
befits his achievement, because he has spent most of his working life in England.
After many years teaching at London University, he has moved to York where his
wife Nicola le Fanu has taken up a teaching post. This setting of a border ballad
was commissioned by The Song Gompany and first performed on June 12, 1985.
A substantial proportion of Lumsdaine's works are vocal, and he has shown a fine
feeling for word setting. His own note on his treatment of the text of Where the
Lilies Grow
is worth reproducing:
"The source of the text is to be found in the Oxford Book of Ballads under the title of
The Demon Lover. I have changed the title in order to leave open amiguities in
the poem. Changes in the text have been made purely for musical and dramtic
reasons; they are my singing of the ballad...
The style of the piece asks for a combination of rhythmic precision and flexibility of


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