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Australian music for solo voice
Australia is rightly proud of the singers we have produced over the years but while these include numerous wonderful male singers, it is the divas like Melba and Sutherland who leap more easily to mind. Much of the music composed in early colonial Australia was vocal – various things of Isaac Nathan and William Vincent Wallace, for instance – and there was healthy industry in parlour song and other light music well into the twentieth century.
As an avid collector, Percy Grainger made many arrangements of folk song, including several for voice and piano. Other important composers of solo song in the early twentieth century include Margaret Sutherland, whose settings of John Shaw Nielson and Judith Wright are especially fine, Dorian Le Gallienne, whose choice of texts ranges freely from the Elizabethan period on, and Peggy Glanville-Hicks.
We are lucky to have a number of fine singers who support new work including Merlyn Quaife, Elizabeth Campbell, Jane Edwards and Yvonne Kenny, as well as Lyndon Terracini, Michael C Smith and an encouraging raft of younger singers.
||Woman to man (2004) by Richard Mills||is an Australian Frauenliebe und -leben based on poems of Judith Wright.|
||Hermit of Green Light (1979) by Ross Edwards||a song cycle to the allusive verses of Michael Dransfield.|
||Eight cabaret songs (1989) by Keith Humble||shows the genuinely witty side of this usually serious composer in verse by a range of poets including Yeats and Auden.|
||Learning to howl (2001) by Andrew Ford||a song cycle for soprano, soprano saxophone/clarinet/bass clarinet, harp & percussion to a rich selection of different texts.|
||Kindled skies (2001) by Gordon Kerry||this work for soprano and orchestra is a tribute to the artistry of singer Merlyn Quaife.|
||Plum tree by Linda Phillips||Phillips's two songs show this composer’s exquisite craft in setting verse (by Kathleen Dalziel and herself).|
||Cradle song by Linda Phillips||Phillips's two songs show this composer’s exquisite craft in setting verse (by Kathleen Dalziel and herself).|
|Liederkreis by Heagney, Roger||these songs for soprano, mezzo soprano or baritone are set to texts by Graeme William Ellis, after Eichendorff.|