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Work

1989
  • for SATB choir or vocal ensemble
  • By:
Duration:
14' 00"

Samples

application/pdf,35k Score (35k) Page 1 © Jack Body
audio/mpeg,468k Recording (468k) 1:59 - 2:59 from 'Lullaby 1'© Waiteata Music Press
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External Media on Demand

Programme Note

Risky, perhaps, to create a set of ‘Lullabies’, if one wants to avoid sending an audience to sleep! But a lullaby might not always be soporific, if we consider the state of mind of the singer, who may be singing as much for themselves, projecting onto the child their own anxieties, frustrations, aspirations, hopes.

The musical language tries to suggest a folk-like simplicity; the invented languages likewise hinting at distant regions, no. I African perhaps, II Turkish, III Latinate, IV Pacific. In the final movement, the word ‘Calumbaya’ is borrowed from the name of a Filipino friend’s barrio, a name so euphonious as to be irresistible.

Invariably, mature age is a time for surrendering to seductive nostalgia and sentimentality, the very things one had previously studiously avoided. But the challenge is to find true beauty in the banal, and mystery in common cliché, something I attempted in my several settings of old songs, remembering my dear, departed paternal grandmother, and also my hale and hearty 100 year-old father, whose musical tastes extend little further than old style tunes like these.

Five Lullabies was composed in 1989 as a tribute to Peter Godfrey on his retirement, and was first performed in its entirety by the Tudor Consort. Musically, they were partly inspired by my discovery of the wonderful vocal polyphonies of some of China’s minority cultures, sometimes characterised by the so-called ‘dissonant’ interval of a 2nd being held to resonate as a consonant.

Text Note:
Words are "invented" languages with no semantic meaning
Difficulty:
Advanced
Influences:
Dedication:
Composed as a tribute to Peter Godfrey upon his retirement

Performance History

20 Mar 1991 Performed by the Tudor Consort conducted by Simon Ravens at the Cathedral of St. Paul, Wellington
01 Jul 2011 Performed by the BBC Singers as part of the 2011 City of London Festival at St Giles Cripplegate, in London
30 Apr 2014 Performed by Callum Blackmore and Timothy Carpenter at the Jack Body 70th Year Tribute concert, Music Theatre, Auckland University.
24 May 2015 Performed by Baroque Voices and directed by Pepe Becker at the Jack Body Memorial Concert, at St Andrews on the Terrace, in Wellington.
‘V’ only.

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