Hermit of Green Light (countertenor with piano)
by Ross Edwards (1979)
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Library shelf no. CD 1590 [Available for loan]
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Library shelf no. Q 783.2542/EDW 1 [Available for loan]
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Instrumentation: Voice (counter-tenor or contralto), piano.
Duration: 11 min.
Difficulty: Advanced — Complete cycle - L.Mus.
Contents note: The Hermit of Green Light -- Geography VI -- Geography III -- And no bird sings.
Text from four poems by Michael Dransfield.
'Geography VI' is on AMEB A.Mus. syllabus, 'And no bird sings' is on AMEB Grade 6 syllabus, 'Hermit of Green Light' is on AMEB Grade 7 syllabus, 'Geography III' is on AMEB Grade 8 syllabus.
Resonate article: Narrating the Early Music of Ross Edwards by Andrew Robbie
- In the form/style of: Song Cycles
Performances of this work
24 Feb 2024: at Flametree and the Australian Art Song Resource present Close to Home (Church Street Studios). Featuring Jenny Duck-Chong, Nicole Thomson, Jo Allan.
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My favourite Australian art song repertoire
Posted by Australian Music Centre on 15 July, 2013
The AMC asked leading practitioners to select their favourite Australian art song repertoire, to provide delegates to the 2013 International Conference of Vocal Teachers (Brisbane 2013) with an introduction to this rich and diverse landscape.
The writing by Edwards for text, voice and accompaniment for the countertenor, one of only five in the genre for voice type, is demonstrated in this unique work, some of which may also suit some contraltos. Song 4 – ‘The music is over’, a sparsely accompanied song, evokes a range of emotions inherent in Michael Dransfield’s text, drawn out in the vocal colours of Edwards’s music with its mostly delicate dynamics, save for a few ‘spikes’ of sforzando contrasts.
Song 2, Geography VI I love this song with its gently hypnotic rendering of a rainy day in the bush, alone with nature. The vocal line ranges from A3-E5 but sits mainly lower middle (D4-C#5), the setting is recitative like with melodic fragments that are repeated throughout the song. There are frequent time signature changes with the moving semiquaver patterns in the piano part setting the basic pulse that manages to stay fluid and almost stressless. Very integrated voice and piano writing, a true art song.
This work for low voice and piano was one of the first Australian song cycles I learnt and is still a favourite in my repertoire. Richly evocative, it demonstrates Edwards as a skilled interpreter of text, here inspired by the 'visionary' poetry of Michael Dransfield. The vocal lines, at times gently undulating and steeply angular, are supported by delicate piano figures and flourishes. Together they paint a solitary and sensory landscape of 'movement and stillness' that is well worth exploring. Originally written for counter-tenor, this song works very well in a low female voice.