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Alice Forrester Mackay: Fou...Embedded video
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The music critic of the Canterbury Times writing in 1913 said ‘had she lived in the musical atmosphere of England her songs would no doubt, long ago have been heard in many countries.’ But he also observed ‘Her compositions are much above the average merit, and I think it only right to say that her songs should be printed and disseminated far and near.’ He mentions 'Song of the Cradle', 'My heart’s oppressed', and 'Hero Song' in his article, so they must have been composed before 1913.
Johannes Anderson was a Danish-born writer who settled in New Zealand in 1874. He was a polymath, writing books on many subjects, as well as poetry. In 1919 he became the first librarian of the Alexander Turnbull Library. He undoubtedly met Alice Mackay in Christchurch where he lived before moving to Wellington, so that this song may be amongst her earliest. Part of the manuscript collection in the Alexander Turnbull Library is a collection of Scottish and Irish folk music Mackay collected from the workers on her first husband’s farm, and it is the Celtic nature of Andersen’s poem that undoubtedly attracted her to it.
Words by Johannes C. Andersen (1873 – 1962)