Advice To A Girl : for soprano or mezzo soprano and string quartet
by Anne Cawrse (2020)
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Library shelf no. CD 3259 [Available for loan]
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I became aware of the poem Advice To A Girl by Sara Teasdale in a media misquote, which said I had set these words in another musical work of mine, Flame and Shadow (they got the Teasdale bit right, but chose the wrong poem!) Upon reading the poem, it struck me as the perfect text to use for a work that wanted to lay claim to a woman's rightful desire to create. I set it aside until the right opportunity came about- that opportunity was a new work to be included on my debut album of chamber music for voice and strings.
The music, like the text, is gentle but confident; simple, but direct. Teasdale's honest and unpretentious lyricism is reflected in the crystalline clarity of the music, beginning with a small waver of insecurity, and finishing with a new-found assuredness. It is a poem that I still struggle to articulate a meaning for, but which affects me deeply every time I hear it: what better reason, then, to set it to music, and to let the music deliver the true meaning of the words?
Instrumentation: Soprano or Mezzo-soprano, 2 violins, viola, cello.
Duration: 6 min.
Commission note: Commissioned with funds provided by Arts SA.
Performances of this work
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