Films, Audio & Samples
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This piece sets five of the six verses of The Night Watch Song of the 'Charlotte Jane' by James Edward Fitzgerald, a nineteenth century immigrant to New Zealand. He sets the poem on the boat in which he travelled to New Zealand, and in this musical setting I have suggested a 'sea shanty' type of rhythm and flavour to the music. The following note places the author in his context: 'James Edward Fitzgerald (1818-96) was born in Bath and brought up in England. Accepting an administrative post in the British Museum, in his spare time he became very interested in colonial matters. He became a member of the Canterbury Association and apparently wrote many of its important letters. He sailed on the Charlotte Jane. From the start he was a prominent member of the new settlement. He was responsible for the first issue of the Lyttelton Times and became the first Superintendent of Canterbury. Later he founded The Press and entered national politics. His poem The Night Watch Song of the 'Charlotte Jane' was published in 1900.' (The New Place edited by Harvey McQueen (Victoria University Press)).
Night Watch Song was written at the request of Stephen Rowe, one of the choral directors at Rangitoto College, Auckland. His request was for a piece in just two parts for male voices, with a tenor part that could be handled by boys with changing voices (i.e. capable of being sung in a low alto range as well as the upper tenor range).
Written for and dedicated to Stephen Rowe, one of the choral directors at Rangitoto College, and the choirs of Rangitoto College
Text by James Edward Fitzgerald (1818-96)