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What is our life? : song cycle for baritone, cor anglais & piano

by Ralph Middenway (2013)

Work Overview

(Sir) Walter Ralegh (generally misspelt Raleigh) was a splendid poet whose work is characterised by intelligence and often sly wit; he was intolerant of fools and of humbug; he was capable of expressing deep sentiment, altogether incapable of sentimentality.

These eight poems were not written as a set: they were chosen to provide a comprehensive view of his overall output.

The last is seen as an encore piece that is otherwise nothing to do with the previous seven.

Work Details

Year: 2013

Instrumentation: Baritone, cor anglais, piano.

Duration: 25 min.

Difficulty: Advanced — Requires technical fluency and musical imagination. A background in opera would be an advantage for the singer, especially in the case of 'The Lie'.

Contents note: 1. The play of passion -- 2. Now what is love? -- 3. The Silent Lover  -- 4. Sir Walter Raleigh to His Son -- 5. The Lie -- 6. Farewell to the Court -- 7. Sir Walter Ralegh (The Night before His Death) -- Encore: Song of Myself.

Dedication note: "for Alan Greenlees"

Commission note: Written as part of folio for UTas composition PhD, awarded 2015


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