Prodigal Country
Sheet Music

Item Number: 20416175
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Solo Baritone, Chorus (SATB) and Orchestra (SATB)


Composed by Douglas Lilburn. Full Scores. Study score. 76 pages. Duration 00:17:45. Edition Peters #PREPEL22S. Published by Edition Peters (PE.PREPEL22S).

ISBN 9790674522052. English.

Prodigal Country -

For Lilburn’s only full-length choral work, Prodigal Country, the composer set three poems to music – Robin Hyde’s Journey from New Zealand, Allen Curnow’s New Zealand City and Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself. Across a single, winding movement, Prodigal Country conjures nostalgia and strangeness through its sung text and drifting melodic contours. The imagery of the river dominates the work, which, for Lilburn, seemed to represent freedom, while elsewhere Hyde’s evocative landscape is rugged and harsh, Curnow’s text emphasises the hesitancy and unease reminiscent of the Depression and Whitman’s romanticism is celebrated through Lilburn’s lyrical, melodic treatment.


Douglas Lilburn occupies a pre-eminent position in New Zealand music, with a legacy extending well beyond his compositional output. As a composer, teacher and mentor he presided in innumerable ways over the artistic growth of New Zealand from 1940 onwards. From the early works redolent of the influence of Sibelius and Vaughan Williams, to the electro-acoustic pieces of his later years, his works have been instrumental in establishing a genuine vernacular in New Zealand classical music.