GRENFELL: Waldheim Songs for Soprano and Guitar

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Waldheim Songs (2022) for Soprano and Guitar

Maria Grenfell
Text by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

I. Suspira
II. An Amusing Account of the Daily Rain Catchment
III. St Francis

Duration 7:50 approx

Waldheim Songs are settings of three texts related to the Austrian botanist Gustav Weindorfer (1874-1932), who, with his wife Kate Cowle (1863-1916), founded Cradle Mountain National Park in lutruwita/Tasmania, Australia. Gustav and Kate loved the Tasmanian highlands and decided to build a chalet where they could host visiting botanists, naturalists, and biologists, and show them the wonders of the flora and fauna. They named the chalet “Waldheim”; wald being German for ‘forest’, heim meaning ‘home’.

After Kate’s early death, Gustav continued living at Waldheim, hosting and guiding visitors around the valley and mountain, and successfully petitioning the state government to name the area as a national park for all to enjoy. The texts of these songs are gleaned from Kate Legge’s book about the Weindorfers: Kindred (Melbourne: Miegunyah Press, 2019). Gustav recited Henry Longfellow’s Suspira upon seeing the cliffs ad glaciers around Crater Lake.

A visit to Waldheim by A. Hackett in 1923 inspired a humorous diary entry about the endless rain, and some sage words from St Francis of Assisi in memory of Gustav, whose eulogy describes him as having befriended “Birds and beasts, possums, bush mice, and two currawongs that he’d fed from his kitchen door”. (Legge, 210) Waldheim Songs was commissioned by the Weindorfer memorial Committee, Wilmot, Cradle Mountain, to commemorate the 90th anniversary of Gustav’s death.

Premiered by David Maolone (guitar) and Quin Thomson (Soprano) With generous support from the Weindorfer Memorial Committee and the Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart, Tasmania, 2022.

Digital Score available for purchase
Digital Download includes complete work

$44.95 inc. GST