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The Rose Family

by Anthony Ritchie, for SATB a cappella, Opus 58

These songs take many various views of the rose, resulting in an eclectic collection of music, challenging but not overly difficult for choir.

Listen to performance

Programme Note

The Rose Family was commissioned by Viva Voce of Auckland and composed in 1995. The theme of roses and some of the texts were chosen by Viva Voce's conductor, John Rosser.

The eight songs deal in a fairly light way with a variety of aspects of that most romantic of flowers, from love and happiness through to suffering, pain and death. Edmund Waller's Go, lovely rose is a characteristic idealisation of a young woman and is romantic in style. In Herrick's To the Rose, the rose is used to entrap a lover and force her to submit, and the music reflects this cruelty.

Dorothy Parker suggests roses are all very well but she would have preferred a new car from her lover. The final song is an arrangement of James Oppenheim's suffragette song Bread and Roses, and recalls the the sweated labour of women from the past.

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