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Dead songs, opus 45

Sheet Music: Performance Parts

Dead songs, opus 45 : for soprano voice, clarinet in B flat, cello and piano / Andrew Schultz.

by Andrew Schultz (1991)

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  • Library Availability: This item is not available from the Australian Music Centre Library
  • Instrumentation: Soprano, clarinet in B flat, piano, cello.
  • Audio Sample

    Performance by Margaret Schindler, Perihelion from the CD Chamber music


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Dead Songs was composed in June 1991 and consists of settings of texts adapted from epitaphs collected from New South Wales seaside cemeteries at Wombarra, Bulli, South Head and Waverley. Many of the texts are combinations of several different epitaphs (such as No.1, No. 4 and No. 8) and in some cases graffiti or other found texts that made a useful connection have found their way into the work. It was the simplicity of expression, the occasional unintentional humour and even the heartfelt Australian mawkishness of the texts that attracted me to them as sources for a song cycle. The work is laid out quite formally and with some musical references, for example to Schubert's demonic transportation in No. 4, to Bach in No. 8 and Josquin in No. 9.

If there is a metaphor in the work as a whole it can be seen most clearly in the last song. Taken from several decrepit headstones, the text misses the end of most lines and in my setting is left that way - as a kind of floundering expression in the face of bigger obstacles. The analogy here relates to the physical position of the cemeteries as best exemplified by Wombarra with its neat denominational arrangement of the dead seeming somehow insignificant against the slow motion oblivion of sea and wind tearing away at the crumbling cliff edges.

Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 set of 3 performance parts (91p. -- B4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced

Duration: 30 mins

Contents note:

Buried at sea -- His dust -- And underneath are the everlasting arms -- Ahead of his time -- Dead devils -- Agnus dei -- The Tahiti-Greycliffe disaster, Sydney Harbour 1927 -- Peace perfect peace -- Unreconstructed sentiment.

First performance by Symeron — 23 May 93. Eugene Goossens Hall, Sydney

Piano part included in this set is a copy of the full score.

Includes performance notes and text.

Text adapted from epitaphs collected from seaside cemeteries at Wombarra, Bulli, South Head and Waverley.

Typeset edition.

This edition produced Jul 93.

ISMN: M-67305-752-4

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