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White Feathers

for spoken voice and orchestra

Year:  2010 Instrumentation:  spoken voice + 3*3*3*3*; 4231; timp., 2 perc; hp, cel; strings | (Perc: gong, tam-tam, tub. bells, snare drum, xylophone, 3 toms)

Year:  2010
Instrumentation  spoken voice + 3*3*3*3*; 42...

John Elmsly

Composer:   John Elmsly


The five poems are from the 1991 peace anthology White Feathers. (pub. Hazard Press, 1991.)

Peace and in particular the rejection of futile violence and war has always been a concern of mine, reflected in several works, particularly the electronic work In Memoriam Rainbow Warrior, Pacific Hockets for orchestra, and Said the Neighbours for tenor, choir, strings and percussion in which I set another poem by Elsie Locke from this wonderful anthology. The poems selected here follow directly the theme of the anthology, representing stages of response to this pointless violence: shock, outrage, understanding and awareness, and finally reconciliation, understanding, harmony. Papa-tu-a-nuku ends in gentle celebration, but a celebration made all the more telling by the prior reflections.

Contents note

For a Child at Nagasaki – James K Baxter
Sonnet to MacArthur’s Eyes – R.A.K. Mason
Some thought they saw – Basil Dowling
Axis – Cilla McQueen
Papa-tu-a-nuku – Hone Tuwhare

Text note

Poems by James K. Baxter, R.A.K. Mason, Basil Dowling, Cilla McQueen and Hone Tuwhare

Performance history