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Six Swans

Sheet Music: Score

The Six Swans : SSATB Choir & Piano / music by Luke Byrne ; lyrics based on Grimms' adapted by the composer.

by Luke Byrne (2019)


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Grimm's tales didn't feature prominently in my childhood, and it was only quite recently that I came to them via the Australian author and artist Shaun Tan. In his book 'The Singing Bones' Tan does not simply illustrate or re-tell the stories, but creates a single clay sculpture for each story he chose, accompanied by a short excerpt of text, that captures an essence of "Rapunzel", "Mother Holle" or "The Turnip". To me this was the perfect model for a piece of music inspired by Grimm's.
The Six Swans has a narrative device that is absolutely magical: to save her six brothers a girl must sew shirts from aster flowers ("aster" being derived from the Latin for "star") over six years where she can't speak and she even gives birth in that time! This in turn gave me the idea of using the names of stars woven together in a musical montage to evoke the passing of that time.
I also picked this story because it has a happy end, and my other Grimm's are all rather dark or deathly. The essence I wanted to capture of The Six Swans is the sense of anticipation of the day when all will be well, symbolised by the swans flying home.

Published by: Australian Music Centre — 1 facsimile score (13p. -- A4 (portrait))

Difficulty: Advanced — Virtuosic piano part

Duration: 4 mins, 48 sec.

Commission info: Commissioned by Hunter Singers for their 30th Birthday Concert

Includes program notes and copy of full text.

Typeset edition.

ISMN: 979-0-720242-34-7

Related products

This work is also available in the following products:

30 Years
Digital Audio Album: 30 Years / Hunter Singers.


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- Browse other works by Luke Byrne

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