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Eight cabaret songs : soprano voice with piano

by Keith Humble (1989)

Score Sample

View a sample of the score of this work

Audio Sample

Performance by Merlyn Quaife, Michael Kieran Harvey from the CD Recital

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set (8) of cabaret songs


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A set (8) of cabaret songs / Keith Humble

Library shelf no. Q 783.6542/HUM 1 [Available for loan]

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Work Details

Year: 1989

Instrumentation: Soprano or mezzo-soprano voice, piano.

Duration: 14 min.

Difficulty: Medium

Contents note: The lady's first song (words by W.B. Yeats) -- Sword and rose (words by Robert Graves) -- Girl's song (words by W.B. Yeats) -- The bed (words by A.D. Hope) -- Drinking song (words by W.B. Yeats) -- The world is too much with us (words by William Wordsworth) -- Her anxiety (words by W.B.Yeats) -- O tell me the truth about love (words by W.H.Auden).

Songs composed 1985-1989.

Performances of this work

19 Mar 2012: at Lunchtime concert: Merlyn Quaife & Andrea Katz (Melba Hall). Featuring Merlyn Quaife, Andrea Katz.

22 Nov 2011: at Songmakers Australia (The Salon, Melbourne Recital Centre). Featuring Merlyn Quaife, Andrea Katz.

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My favourite Australian art song repertoire

Posted by Australian Music Centre on 22 July, 2013

The AMC asked leading practitioners to select their favourite Australian art song repertoire, to provide delegates to the 2013 International Conference of Vocal Teachers (Brisbane 2013) with an introduction to this rich and diverse landscape.
Most of Keith Humble’s cabaret songs were written in Queenscliff, Victoria but they are clearly influenced by Humble’s time in Europe and America.  The songs evoke the boite de nuit of mid 20th century Paris and were composed for American soprano Carol Plantamura. Each of the eight songs has a distinct character, allowing the singer to experiment with different colours, characters and modes of delivery. The notation gives plenty of information, but also leaves space for creative decision-making in the moment, allowing the singer to push the cabaret element. The songs range from hilarious to heartbreakingly sad; performing the whole cycle is an emotional tour-de-force. That said, there are songs within the cycle that are technically simple enough to be sung by young performers. The pieces are sonically and textually accessible and they provide a great entry point to Humble’s musical language, even for very young performers.
Jessica Aszodi
These songs are fun, mostly very short and apart from ‘Drinking Song’, not difficult for the pianist and even with ‘Drinking Song’, remember you are meant to sound like bottles and glasses clinking on the bar! Audiences enjoy them too!
Merlyn Quaife