Program notes

Everlasting Arms for clarinet and piano, opus 45b (1991)

Everlasting Arms is one of a number of works I have drawn from the large-scale song cycle, Dead Songs. Dead Songs was composed very quickly in August 1991 and was a laureate in the Paul Lowin Awards that year.  Dead Songs consists of setting of epitaphs from Australian seaside graveyards from the coast around Sydney and is an evocative and large-scale chamber-vocal work.  Other works I have drawn from the same cycle include Barcarole for solo piano and Master Mariner for viola and piano. As this suggests, the original song-cycle has proved a very fertile source for me.  The title ‘Everlasting Arms’ came from one of the epitaphs I collected – it seemed to suggest a bluesy harmonic palette and thunderous bass notes in piano. The work is a short piece of about two minutes and quite virtuosic for both performers.

© Andrew Schultz, 1991