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Three Katherine Mansfield Songs

for mezzo-soprano and piano

Year:  2023   ·  Duration:  10m 30s

Year:  2023
Duration:  10m 30s

Composer:   Andrew Perkins

Films, Audio & Samples

Andrew Perkins: Three Kathe...

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Andrew Perkins: Three Kathe...

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Andrew has chosen three poems by Katherine Mansfield that make use of the imagery of nature. These works offer readers, and now listeners, insight into the complex nature of her relationships with men and women. Although each song is based on a different scalar formation, the scales share common characteristics. Similar melodic shapes and intervals also help to unify the three songs. In Very Early Spring, Mansfield personifies the sun as a male figure, and the wind as female, interacting but remaining separate. The song is full of contrasting musical gestures – some strong and cool, and others delicate and warm. In The Gulf, the lovers are separated by a gulf, but no mention is made of the identity of the two. The idea of bridging the gulf is usually viewed as a metaphor for Mansfield’s constant searching for fulfilment. The gulf is represented in the music through the extreme registers in the piano and vocal part, and between voice and piano. An ever-shifting ostinato creates an air of tension in the music throughout the song. In The Earth-child in the Grass, the lovers are represented by the counterpoint between the voice and piano part. The sensuous use of metaphor in the poetry, such as the green blades of grass, the move from coldness to warmth, and from weeping to laughter is likewise reflected in the music. I have added another impersonal witness to this natural scene in the form of a bird whose song can be heard in the piano part.

Commissioned note

Commissioned for ‘Child of the Sun’ — A Celebration of Katherine Mansfield in Song

Contents note

  1. Very Early Spring
  2. The Gulf
  3. The Earth-child in the Grass

Text note

Text by Katherine Mansfield