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When the heart is cut or cracked or broken : 'July' from the Song Company's All-Leunig Musical Almanac

by Drew Crawford (2015)

When the heart is cut or cracked or broken


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When the heart is cut or cracked or broken / Drew Crawford ; poem by Michael Leunig.

Library shelf no. 783.165542/CRA 1 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

This simple poem has a beautiful, tender and comforting wisdom for anyone who has suffered in life - which is to say, everyone - and expresses it in what I think of as a very Australian accent; it suited 'July' for the All-Leunig Almanac because we sometimes need a reminder of the possibility of healing and regeneration in the depths of winter when summer feels like a distant memory.

I began by setting the poem as an unaccompanied melody as there's a fairly strong directive in the final stanza: 'a simple song' is required. Then, just as it's concluding, a bell-ringing texture emerges by repeating the phrase 'let it ring', where the singers extended the final syllable through the soft palate sound of the 'ng', increasing in density until, moving backwards through the text and in fragments shared polyrhythmically in all six voices of the company, we pass through a bell-rung, wind-blown storm from the sea, finally reaching safe harbour again with the first line (and title) of the song.

Work Details

Year: 2015

Instrumentation: 6 voices: soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass.

Duration: 4 min.

Difficulty: Medium — Rhythmic complexity

Commission note: Commissioned by Deborah Robinson for the Song Company’s 2015 All-Leunig Song Almanac

First performance: by The Song Company, Roland Peelman at The all-Leunig Song Almanac (Blackheath Uniting Church) on 31 Oct 2015

The composer notes the following styles, genres, influences, etc associated with this work:
Ross Edwards, Kevin Volans, Sufjan Stevens; new folk, folk-classical, indie folk, indie-classical

Performances of this work

31 Oct 2015: at The all-Leunig Song Almanac (Blackheath Uniting Church). Featuring The Song Company, Roland Peelman.

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