These four songs were published in 1965 by the Auckland Workers’ Educational Association in a collection titled New Zealand Folksongs, editor Neil Colquhuon. The authors of words and tunes are unknown.
First published in 1872, the collection of poems Sing-Song by Christina Rossetti stayed popular for over a century. My first introduction to this work was at age 13 with my discovery of the beautiful old edition in the Dorothy Neal White Collection of the National Library of New Zealand, but it was not until five years later that I set four of the poems for voice and piano.
The resulting song-cycle was premiered on July 26, 1995 by Victoria Poole, soprano, and Fiona McCabe, piano in a recital at Ferndale House in Mt. Albert, Auckland.
In December 2008 I revised the song-cycle to its present form, re-writing the two outer songs (although these remain quite close to the originals) and replacing the two inner songs with new material.