Trust Records
TRUST RECORDS | CATALOGUE | RECORDING ARTISTS | COMPOSERS | NEWS| HRL MORRISON MUSIC TRUST | SHOP | CONTACT
Douglas Lilburn

Douglas Lilburn (1915-2001) grew up on ‘Drysdale’, his parents’ hill country farm bordering the high mountain plateau at the centre of New Zealand’s North Island. He wrote many significant instrumental works, before deciding to concentrate exclusively on the relatively unexplored territory of electroacoustic music, believing it would allow him to develop the national voice he had advocated since his return to New Zealand.

Recordings featuring Douglas Lilburn

Elegy: Songs for Baritone and Piano
English art songs

MMT2023, Released 2000
 
Elusive Dreams: New Zealand Piano Music
New music for solo piano

MMT2010, Released 2000
 
Island Song: Beautiful New Zealand Music
New Zealand music compilation

MMT2044, Released 2010
 
Landscapes: New Zealand Orchestral Music
Favourite symphonic works from New Zealand

MMT2037, Released 2001
 
Lilburn: Piano Music Vol 1
The complete piano music of Douglas Lilburn

MMT2053, Released 2004
 
Lilburn: Piano Music Vol 2
The complete piano music of Douglas Lilburn

MMT2054, Released 2004
 
Lilburn: Piano Music Vol 3
The complete piano music of Douglas Lilburn

MMT2067, Released 2011
 
Lilburn: Piano Music Vol 4
The complete piano music of Douglas Lilburn

MMT2068-69, Released 2012
 
Wild Music: Orchestral Music Compilation
Orchestral favourites inspired by nature

MMT2059, Released 2004
 

Biography

Douglas Lilburn (1915-2001) grew up on ‘Drysdale’, his parents’ hill country farm bordering the high mountain plateau at the centre of New Zealand’s North Island. He often described his boyhood home as 'paradise' and his first major orchestral work, the Drysdale Overture (1937), written whilst a student under the aegis of Ralph Vaughan Williams at the Royal College of Music in London, explores the home hills, bush and stream as primal sites of imaginative wonder. Recalling the impression of Drysdale, the composer wrote 'I’m left with that lovely Mark Twain image of Jim and Huckleberry drifting their barge down that great river, looking up at the stars and wondering "whether they was made, or only just happened."' Other prize-winning student works included a choral cycle Prodigal Country (1939) and the Aotearoa Overture (1940) which became a New Zealand classic.

Returning to New Zealand, Lilburn settled in Christchurch where he had formerly studied. Here, he banded together with an innovative group of painters, poets, publishers and theatre directors who were to prove vastly influential. Settings of the poets Allen Curnow and Denis Glover, for example, resulted in two iconic works – Landfall in Unknown Seas (1942), for narrator and string orchestra, and Sings Harry (1954) . Lilburn dedicated occasional piano pieces to artist Leo Bensemann and Caxton Press editor Lawrence Baigent, and his extended orchestral tone poem A Song of Islands (1946) finds its parallel in the regional paintings of Rita Angus.

In 1947 Lilburn joined the staff of Victoria University College in Wellington and completed a series of works which received high critical acclaim, including his first symphony (1949), the Sonata for Piano(1949), the Alistair Campbell song cycle Elegy (1951) and the much loved second symphony (1951).

Lilburn composed his third symphony in 1961, along with Sonatina No.2 (1962) and Nine Short Pieces for Piano (1965-66) in response to a stimulating period of sabbatical leave. Their witty and pointed rhetoric brings together language and nature, the human and the non-human, in unusual conjunctions that resonate with symbolic meanings.

Lilburn shocked and surprised colleagues and admirers when after writing these significant pieces, he decided to concentrate exclusively on the relatively unexplored territory of electroacoustic music, believing it would allow him to develop the national voice he had advocated since his return to New Zealand. His fascination with the medium led him to form the southern hemisphere's first electronic music studio at Victoria University. This has proved to be a great legacy, having influenced a great many New Zealand composers in the decades since.

His final years were spent quietly at home, tending his garden and, until the onset of arthritis, playing his beloved August Förster upright piano. Douglas Lilburn received the Order of New Zealand in 1988.

His home in Thorndon, Wellington, now houses the New Zealand School of Music/Creative New Zealand Composer in Residence. His works are performed and broadcast regularly.



Related News

  Lilburn Vol.3 Reviewed by 'The Critic's Chair'
   


TRUST RECORDS | CATALOGUE | RECORDING ARTISTS | COMPOSERS | NEWS| HRL MORRISON MUSIC TRUST | SHOP | CONTACT
Find us on Facebook | Order online at 43.co.nz | Trust Records Radio available at InstantEncore.com

© 1994-2012 HRL Morrison Music Trust