It was a proud moment for me to join the ranks of composers known predominantly by their surnames – the likes of Bach, Mozart and Schumann being displayed on the same shelf!

So just what, exactly, lies inside this milestone cover?

Death of a Giant – an anthology of art songs

Death of a Giant is a collection of seven art songs for voice and piano set to texts written by several well-known Australian poets. The central theme of the anthology is that of life cycles and experiences within a rain forest.

Whilst the title of the first piece “Death of a Giant” might evoke images from a fairy tale, the giant is actually a large tree in the Tasmanian rain forest, with the poet pondering its life cycle and eventual demise. The piece opens with powerful crashing chords in B minor, after which a bird can be heard high above the canopy. The song was originally written for mixed choir, but translates well to the solo genre. Other song titles from the anthology include:

  • You were the seed;
  • The Leaf;
  • Cycads;
  • Rainforest;
  • Lichen, Moss, Fungus; and
  • In the depths of a forest.

Exploring the ‘forest’ theme

As a lover of nature and macro photography, I find myself constantly being drawn to both the sounds and silence of the Earth and to the wonders of its intricate and fascinating structures and life forms. You will hear these inspirational details in the embellishments and embroidered motifs in Lichen, Moss and Fungus, Nature’s needlework; in the starkness of Cycads, whose survival history goes back through the generations; in the ephemeral nature of The Leaf; and in the story of the seed that is thrown by the wind and nurtured by another tree as part of the fascinating life cycle that is the forest.

The themes of birth, growth, death and the impact of man are, I believe, significantly pertinent to the challenges of today.

The art song form

My writing has sometimes been described as “madrigalistic” in style. However, the art song accompaniments I have created for this anthology stay true to the original art form, with the role of the piano and voice being integral to one another in enhancing the mood, colour and character of the text. The text remains always the predominant inspirational force that guides the creative process in developing my music.

Future anthologies

I hope you can take the time to explore the artistry of my newest solo vocal works for medium-high voicing. And be sure to keep a lookout for future collections that will include “Brindabella” (a mountain theme) and “Araluen” (a water theme).

Be in contact

As always, I am most interested in hearing about your performances of any of my compositions. Feel free to drop me a line or two, or even a video or sound clip. Your comments and contributions will be greatly appreciated.

Keep on singing!