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by Peter Sculthorpe (1960)

Score Sample

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This sample is from the Baritone with piano version of this work

Versions of this work

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- Baritone with piano

- Soprano with piano

Products featuring this work

Format Title Version AMC Library Price  


Sun : song cycle for baritone and piano / Peter Sculthorpe ; text by D.H. Lawrence.

Baritone with piano Available for loan $37.27 Add to cart


Sun : song cycle for soprano and piano / Peter Sculthorpe ; text by D.H. Lawrence.

Soprano with piano Available for loan $37.27 Add to cart

Work Overview

I completed the song cycle Sun in 1960, when I was studying at Oxford. Dedicated to Wilfrid Mellers and his first wife, Peggy, it was first performed at the Attingham Park Summer School, Shropshire, in the same year.

A setting of poems by D H Lawrence, the work tells of a journey from a desolate place to a place of everlasting light. It consists of three motivically-related songs: Into the Sea, Tropic and Sun in Me. At the time of writing it, I was very much influenced by Lawrence's ideas concerning the sun as both life-giver and destroyer. I related these to my own experience as an Australian and the song cycle is a precursor of my orchestral series, Sun Music.

Late in 1960, I withdrew the work, feeling that the final song failed to mirror the emotions contained in the poem. In the following year I was inspired to rewrite the song. I used a wordless setting of it at the end of Irkanda IV, for solo violin, strings and percussion, a work written in memory of my father. I have now incorporated this into the song cycle itself, revising the whole work in 2009.

Reflecting the text, the work tells of a journey from a dark place to a place of everlasting light. In arranging it for baritone and piano, I was able to make a particularly strong statement.

Work Details

Year: 1960

Duration: 11 min.


Resonate article: Sculthorpe concerts at Canberra International Music Festival by Jennifer Gall


Performances of this work

28 Oct 18: featuring Wendy Dixon, David Miller.

28 Jul 2013: at Australian Song at Kincoppal (Performing Arts Centre, Kincoppal - Rose Bay).

7 May 2009: at Sun in Me - a portrait concert for Peter Sculthorpe's 80th birthday (National Portrait Gallery). Featuring Mina Kanaridis, Alan Hicks.

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