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Songs of War

for baritone, trumpet and piano

Year:  2014   ·  Duration:  16m
Instrumentation:  baritone, b-flat trumpet, piano

Year:  2014
Duration:  16m
Instrumentation  baritone, b-flat trumpet, p...

Composer:   Janet Jennings

Films, Audio & Samples

Sample Score

Sample: First two pages of movements 1, 2, 3 and 5

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The first poem, 'Song of War' (the title poem of the cycle), begins as a “traditional” war song – a marching song as sung by newly enlisted boys. The reality of war is revealed in subsequent verses of the song.

'I Thought of You' speaks of Sergeant Mike Subritzky’s experiences as a Kiwi peacekeeper in the Rhodesian War of 1979-1980.

'The Tethered Goat' recalls a recruit course where a sergeant demonstrates his SLR (Self Loading Rifle) to a group of raw new recruits.

Two very short poems - 'A Sarajevo Haiku' and 'Dead Girl’s Tanka' - recount the same incident from two crucially different points of view. The subject is no longer a group of raw recruits and a tethered goat, but the reality of sniper warfare. 'A Sarajevo Haiku' tells of a soldier shooting a girl from the soldier’s point of view. The language of the poem is stripped of human engagement - lining up the girl to shoot her is described, in the soldier’s mind, as “foresight laid central to mass”. 'Dead Girl’s Tanka' gives the dead girl a voice.

The song cycle finishes with 'December Dreamtime', a Christmas carol that outlines the (unlikely) circumstances that will allow us to sing, in truth, “Peace on earth, and goodwill towards men”.

Contents note

I. Song of War
II. I Thought of You
III. The Tethered Goat
IV. (a) A Sarajevo Haiku
IV. (b) Dead Girl’s Tanka
V. December Dreamtime

Text note

Text by NZ poet Mike Subritzky