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voice from the city

Sheet Music: Score

A voice from the city : three songs for voice and small ensemble / poetry by Henry Lawson ; music by John Peterson.

by John Peterson (1994)

  • Purchase Price: $45.45 (Usually ships in 3-8 business days) — Add to Cart
  • Library Availability: 783.68547/PET 1 — Available for loan
  • Instrumentation: Voice (mezzo-soprano or contralto), 2 flutes, clarinet in B flat, bass clarinet, tenor trombone, piano.
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  • Audio Sample

    Performance by Marianne Powles, Paul Dhasmana, Michael Sitsky, Susannah Flint, Catherine Playoust, Kevin Barker, Diana Blom, Elliott Gyger from the CD Greenbaum, Hindson, Peterson.


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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.

Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 facsimile score (43p. -- A4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced

Duration: 14 mins

Contents note:

1. Crossroads -- 2. The song and the sigh -- 3. The water-lily.

Dedicated to Marianne Powles

First performance by Marianne Powles, Coruscations, Elliott Gyger — 26 Nov 94. Old Darlington School, University of Sydney

Includes programme notes and text of the poems.

Typeset edition.

Related products

This work is also available in the following products:

voice from the city
Parts: A voice from the city : three songs for voice and small ensemble / John Peterson ; poetry by Henry Lawson.

Greenbaum, Hindson, Peterson.
CD: Greenbaum, Hindson, Peterson.


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