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A voice from the city : three songs for voice and small ensemble

by John Peterson (1994)

Score Sample

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Performance by Marianne Powles, Paul Dhasmana, Michael Sitsky, Susannah Flint, Catherine Playoust, Kevin Barker, Diana Blom, Elliott Gyger from the CD Greenbaum, Hindson, Peterson.

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Greenbaum, Hindson, Peterson.

Out of Print

This item is out-of-print. We regret that it cannot be purchased from the Australian Music Centre.


Greenbaum, Hindson, Peterson.

Library shelf no. CD 330 [Available for loan]

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Work Overview

The poetry of Henry Lawson is often written in a conventional ballad style, and the directness and the humour of his verse made him immensely popular. Much of his poetry was published in The Sydney Bulletin, a weekly newspaper representing the views of the working class living in Sydney in the 1890s. Lawson's appeal to the readers of The Bulletin was due largely to the fact that his themes and his characters were both recognizable and recognizably part of the image that late 19th century Australians had of themselves. Despite his popularity, however, Henry Lawson remained emotionally insecure throughout his life, and poems like Crossroads, riddled with guilt and self-recrimination, appear occasionally in his output. While he spent only a small part of his life living in the Australian 'bush', it strongly influenced his writing and a large part of Lawson's output is concerned with recreating the attitudes, lifestyles, and character of those who lived there. Sometimes these poems are wistful, evoking a sense of melancholy and mystery, as in The Song and the Sigh, for example, while others are inhabited by those who display great strength during times of adversity. Lawson saw women and children as the real victims of the often harsh and inhospitable 'bush' landscape and the
sometimes primitive living conditions. In The Water-lily, he shows that women were often left alone to bear the burden of loss, and that even the strongest survivors can be haunted by nightmarish visions.

Work Details

Year: 1994

Instrumentation: Voice (mezzo-soprano or contralto), 2 flutes, clarinet in B flat, bass clarinet, tenor trombone, piano.

Duration: 14 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Contents note: 1. Crossroads -- 2. The song and the sigh -- 3. The water-lily.

Dedication note: Dedicated to Marianne Powles

First performance: by Marianne Powles, Coruscations, Elliott Gyger — 26 Nov 94. Old Darlington School, University of Sydney


Performances of this work

26 Nov 94: Old Darlington School, University of Sydney. Featuring Marianne Powles, Coruscations, Elliott Gyger.

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