Music Network commissioned Solfa Carlile to write new music for the Music Network April 2023 tour. ‘Storybook Land’ was premiered at Abbeystrewry Church, Skibbereen, Co. Cork on 13th April 2023.
A note from composer Solfa Carlile:
The text is taken from the poem ‘The Land of Story-Books’ by poet Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), and describes a child’s imaginary world as inspired by their books. While parents sit quietly in the evening, the child escapes into an adventure from a ‘hunter’s camp’ behind the sofa. The story begins solemnly, laying a modal harmonic foundation, gradually becoming freer as the child’s imagination soars, cycling through the varied settings. The excitement finally subsides to a sleepy codetta, as our adventurer returns ‘across the sea’ to reality, in time for bed.
'At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything.
Now, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back.
There, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter's camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed.
These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink.
I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, like to an Indian scout,
Around their party prowled about.
So, when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
And go to bed with backward looks
At my dear land of Story-books.
Performed by Claudia Boyle, Niall O’Sullivan & Conor Linehan in Skibbereen, Clifden, Boyle, Dún Laoghaire, Limerick, Thomastown, Ennis, Dublin and Bray.
Claudia Boyle - soprano
Niall O’Sullivan - trumpet
Conor Linehan - piano
Recorded at Abbeystrewry Church, Skibbereen, Co. Cork on 13th April 2023.
Music Network is committed to providing opportunities for Irish composers through its programmes. Commissioning is a vital part of the work we do to nurture music and musicians in Ireland.
Every year we commission a number of new works by Irish composers which are performed by renowned Irish and international performers for audiences across the county as part of our national touring programme.
Learn more about our commissions here.