A voice from the city : three songs for voice and small ensemble
by John Peterson (1994)
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Library shelf no. CD 330 [Available for loan]
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A voice from the city : three songs for voice and small ensemble / poetry by Henry Lawson ; music by John Peterson.
Library shelf no. 783.68547/PET 1 [Available for loan]
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The poetry of Henry Lawson is often written in a conventional
ballad style, and the directness and the humour of his verse made
him immensely popular. Much of his poetry was published in The
Sydney Bulletin, a weekly newspaper representing the views of the
working class living in Sydney in the 1890s. Lawson's appeal to
the readers of The Bulletin was due largely to the fact that his
themes and his characters were both recognizable and recognizably
part of the image that late 19th century Australians had of
themselves. Despite his popularity, however, Henry Lawson
remained emotionally insecure throughout his life, and poems like
Crossroads, riddled with guilt and self-recrimination, appear
occasionally in his output. While he spent only a small part of
his life living in the Australian 'bush', it strongly influenced
his writing and a large part of Lawson's output is concerned with
recreating the attitudes, lifestyles, and character of those who
lived there. Sometimes these poems are wistful, evoking a sense
of melancholy and mystery, as in The Song and the Sigh, for
example, while others are inhabited by those who display great
strength during times of adversity. Lawson saw women and children
as the real victims of the often harsh and inhospitable 'bush'
landscape and the
sometimes primitive living conditions. In The Water-lily, he shows that women were often left alone to bear the burden of loss, and that even the strongest survivors can be haunted by nightmarish visions.
Instrumentation: Voice (mezzo-soprano or contralto), 2 flutes, clarinet in B flat, bass clarinet, tenor trombone, piano.
Duration: 14 min.
Contents note: 1. Crossroads -- 2. The song and the sigh -- 3. The water-lily.
Dedication note: Dedicated to Marianne Powles
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