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Death of a giant : seven settings of Australian poetry : for voice and piano

by Sandra Milliken (2013)

Death of a giant


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Work Overview

Forests are life itself:
Natural wonders on a grand scale
that yet encapsulate the miniature.
Some grow where we dare not go;
Some grow where others have been before.
Cool, temperate forests, moisture-laden mosses and ferns;
Steamy, humid rainforests of epiphytic awe;
Northern forests of pine and birch;
Southern forests of eucalypts and wattle.
Those that enjoy great richness
and those that struggle to reach the sun.
Forests are life unto themselves.

I have experienced forests in England, Canada, Norway, Australia and New Zealand; walked at midnight in Finland through a grove of spruce and birch to hear the nightingales sing, and taken trails to see the magnificent sequoia giants in the United States of America. There is a great sense of tranquillity and awe that descends when in the presence of such beauty and aged immensity. After recovering from this first upward impression, looking down reveals a microcosm of extraordinary living detail, this time in miniature - intricate forests of mosses, lichens, flowering plants and fungi among the carpet of decaying leaf matter.

When I first discovered the poem Death of a Giant, I was brought back once again into this world. The poems chosen for this set of seven songs draw upon the stories and timeless nature of the forest in its many forms. From the canopy to the floor, from the sunlight to the shadow, from the immense to the intricate, explore in details the marriage of the text and music to gain an understanding and appreciation of art song. Enjoy!

Work Details

Year: 2013

Instrumentation: Solo voice, piano.

Difficulty: Medium

Contents note: Death of a Giant (poem by Philip Rush) -- You were the seed (poem by Nan Whitcomb) -- Lichen, Moss, Fungus (poem by Judith Wright) -- The Cycads (poem by Judith Wright) -- The Leaf (poem by Alister Kershaw) -- Rainforest (poem by Judith Wright) -- In the depths of a forest (poem by Henry Kendall).


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