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Poem by Bub Bridger for mixed choir with optional trebles and piano (4 hands)
Bub Bridger started writing poetry after visiting the river which Douglas Bridge spans in Northern Ireland. Johnny Come Dancing was one of her first poems and tells the story of a man's magic encounter with fairies and his subsequent emigration to New Zealand. Johnny in the poem was, in fact, Bub Bridger's father, and she assures me the story is true. The combination of magic and music in the poem appealed to me greatly, and made me want to set it for this commission. The song uses Irish dance rhythms to underpin the largely modal vocal lines. The third verse adopts a different style, however, with reference to the old-style 'glees'(male part-singing). In the end, the dance rhythms return to drive the music to a climactic ending.
Commissioned by The New Zealand Choral Federation (Otago Branch) for performance at its annual conference in Dunedin, July 1998
Commissioned by The New Zealand Choral Federation (Otago Branch) for performance at its annual conference in Dunedin, July 1998.
Text: Bub Bridger
24 Jul 1998: Performed by a massed combined choir at the New Zealand Choral Federation Annual Conference; Dunedin Town Hall
30 Sep 1998: Performed by Southern Youth Choir cond. Jonathan Lemalu; Sonia Kao and Jonathan Graham (pianos)