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The bride of Byfield : for soprano voice and piano; poem by Jennifer Woodhouse.

by Betty Beath (1988)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Susan Lorette Dunn, Betty Beath from the CD Tales from nowhere.

Tales from nowhere.


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Tales from nowhere.

Library shelf no. CD 209 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

The Bride of Byfieldis a setting of a poem by the Queensland poet, Jena Woodhouse. Byfield is the name of a great forest area near Rockhampton, Queensland, and was (in 1988) the subject of controversy. Loggers wanted to go in to take the timber and conservationists wanted to preserve the forest. Jena Woodhouse grew up near that forest which had been a strong influence in her life.

In writing this piece for soprano voice and piano I was influenced by the beautiful and highly visual images revealed in the text: The song is a dialogue between equal partners...the voice and the piano.

"The bride is marrying flamboyants: see her standing where their limbs brand her dress with fiery tokens, nimbus her with crimson fronds. She is marrying dense forest; pines that make her drunk with resins; touching her in dreams with passions whispered and foregone. At her elbows in attendance slender pink grevilleas offer soft vignettes of feathers; dark green pigeons, finches, doves. The bride of Byfield is in love with angels, incarnate as trees; their great wings shedding crimson petals, resins, and cicada song."

Work Details

Year: 1988

Instrumentation: Soprano, piano.

Duration: 4 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Composer's note: accessible performers, reasonable technique.

Dedication note: Dedicated to Jenny Dawson

Commission note: Commissioned by St. Margaret's Anglican Girls' School, Brisbane.

First performance: by Jenny Dawson, Betty Beath — Sixth Annual Festival of Australian Music, St. Margaret's Anglican Girls' School, Brisbane.


Performances of this work

Unknown date: Sixth Annual Festival of Australian Music, St. Margaret's Anglican Girls' School, Brisbane.. Featuring Jenny Dawson, Betty Beath.

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