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A Birthday Offering

for SATB choir and piano

Year:  2012

Year:  2012

David Hamilton

Composer:   David Hamilton

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: pages 1-3

See details ➔


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When the 90th birthday of Betty Somerville was approaching, members of Auckland Choral were asked to sing at a special birthday gathering as a surprise. Betty had been a long-time member of the choir, maintaining a strong active involvement behind the scenes after retiring as a singing member.

In searching for a suitable text for a piece to mark the occasion, I found that almost all birthday poetry fell into one of two categories – it was either tied to a specific age, or was incredibly saccharine and trite. I finally chanced upon Richard Wilbur’s “For K.R. on her Sixtieth Birthday” which contained more general sentiments and wishes. The K.R. of the title is the poet Kathleen Raine, and the reference to William Blake in the poem notes her devotion to that poet’s work.

Difficulty note

Suitable for school choirs

Dedication note

Dedicated to Betty Somerville on her 90th birthday

Text note

Written by Richard Wilbur