Commissoned by the Zoltan Kodaly Foundation for the centenary of Kodaly's birth

  • Children's voices
  • 12 min

Programme Note

These beautiful and distinctive songs, comparable with the carols in style, will be useful in class and in concerts. The choir divides into as many as six parts at one point, though normally the songs are in three parts. Each vocal line is tuneful and memorable, but far from boringly straightforward: children will respond to the challenge when the final effect is so rewarding. The words are full of reference to life in the Orkney Islands - beach-combing hearing birds, riding on a tractor - but these will only increase the songs' appeal to a child's imagination. It was, after all, a Hungarian school that gave the first performance!

SEVEN SONGS HOME was commissioned by the Zoltan Kodaly Society to celebrate Kodaly’s centenary. The first performance was given in the Congress Hall of the Academy of Science, Budapest, and was sung in English and from memory by children of the Miskolc Music Primary School.

Peter Maxwell Davies wrote his own text for the Seven Songs which depict one hour in a child’s life, from the time that he leaves school until one hour later when he finally reaches his home. The songs are obviously sea-based which gave an added poignancy to the first performance, given as it was by children who had never seen the sea.

© Peter Maxwell Davies