June 1992: Music and the arts, House Notes

The Great New Zealand Songbook
Les Cleveland,
Godwit, Auckland, 1991, $29.95

Les Cleveland’s friendly and informal approach illuminates this collection of 60 New Zealand songs from early ballads to goldrush classics and Ruru Karaitiana’s ‘Blue Smoke’. An excellent introduction is followed by the words and music of each song with guitar symbols, leavened by evocative photographs. A pungent contribution to the folksong literature.


When the Pakeha Sings of Home – A Source Guide to The Folk and Popular Songs of New Zealand
Mike Harding,
Godwit, Auckland, 1992, $24.95

Mike Harding is well known as a national folk song singer whose voice has been described as ‘ranging rough through shearing blades, mountain ice, and sun-warmed honey-mead’ as well as being ‘rich and gravelly’. Unusually, he also has strong scholarly instincts and this admirable source guide will be widely welcomed. It includes a discography, bibliography and a listing of songs. An excellent buy, it illustrates the Godwit Press’s concern for the grassroots of New Zealand music and partners Les Cleveland’s book reviewed above.


Music at National Archives: sources for the study of music in New Zealand
Ross Harvey,
The Canterbury Series of Bibliographies, Catalogues and Source Documents in Music, School of Music, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, 1991, $16.90

Ross Harvey’s Bibliography of Writings about New Zealand Music (Victoria University Press, 1985) is a standard work underpinning all musical research. His new bibliography opens up sources that in the past have often daunted researchers for their seeming inaccessibility and confused cataloguing systems. It was possible to spend a month in the National Archives and emerge with only one usable reference. That is now changed as Harvey magisterially states: ‘Pleas of ignorance, inconvenience or inaccessibility for previous neglect of National Archives sources are valid no longer’. Of particular value are the two Appendices which list the copyright registration of music printed or published in New Zealand and of music in manuscript. The Bibliography is the fifth in an excellent series edited by Brian W Pritchard.


Music at Canterbury – A Centennial History of the School of Music, University of Canterbury, Christchurch 1891-1991
John M Jennings,
School of Music, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, 1991

In 1891 Canterbury College appointed George F Tendall, organist and master of the choristers at Christchurch Cathedral, as the first part-time lecturer in music at a salary of £150. John M Jennings traces the evolution of the present School of Music and gives due emphasis to its three dominant figures, Dr J C Bradshaw, Vernon Griffiths and John Ritchie. The School’s most distinguished graduate is Douglas Lilburn and its most provocative and influential advocate for contemporary music was Frederick Page. This history also includes a complete roll of graduates in music and a list of unpublished research.


Bibliography of New Zealand Compositions, Third Edition (-1991)
Philip Norman,
Nota Bene Music, P O Box 29-125, Christchurch, 1991, $45

Philip Norman’s essential bibliography lists over 4000 compositions by 113 composers with useful indexes and a simple grading system to indicate necessary performing ability. It gives dates, titles, durations, instrumentations, information on obtaining a score and biographical details. In its new format it is much more agreeable to use and will have a wide influence in making better known New Zealand music, especially, one hopes in the programmes of international broadcasting systems.


Tomasi: For Islands Far Away
Harrison Bray,
Palmerston North, 1991

Harrison Bray’s play on a Tongan theme, Tomasi: For Islands Far Away has now appeared in a substantially revised second edition available through Playmarket, PO Box 9767, Wellington.


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Posted in Literature, Music, Non-fiction, Pacific, Plays, Review, Sociology
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