I LOOK OUT AND SEE (1996-7)
Grace in the Bush (poem by David Martin) I Sit and Look Out (poem by Walt Whitman) The Dream (poem by David Martin) Lover’s Gift (poem by Rabindranath Tagore)
Four songs for bass and piano. Range: E to d’
Duration: 12 minutes
Programme note This set of four songs resulted from a request by Keith Hempton to increase the rather small repertoire for bass voice. I have always loved the capacity for breadth in the bass voice, and this set of songs reflects that breadth in its choice of subjects. I Look Out and See takes a broad look at life and sees the funny, the tragic, lessons learnt and the need for love. All these are viewed with compassion through the eyes of three poets, all great travellers with a love of learning and life. David Martin, who died in 1997, was born in Hungary and brought up in Berlin; his eventful life then took him to Holland, Israel, the Spanish civil war, Britain and India, before he moved to Australia in the 1950s. Walt Whitman, the famous 19th-century American poet, wrote on a large range of topics, some of them taboo at the time, with a directness that many people found (and still find) alarming. In the 1860s he visited and comforted wounded and dying soldiers (from both sides of the conflict) in hospital during the American civil war (an interesting link to David Martin, who was a stretcher-bearer in the Spanish civil war). Rabindranath Tagore, the great Indian poet, left most of his writings in his native Bengali, but the (untitled) poem set here comes from a collection in English called Lover’s Gift.