An Australian Song Cycle

Words and Music: Lorraine Milne

Arranged for 3-part female choir
Copyright © 1997 / 2013

The lyrics

1. Peggy could write a tune that grows into a theme
That overflows…into a song or a symphony,

2. Peggy departed Australian shores
Wondering...if she could score,
Does anyone think of her anymore?

Bridge: Nobody gives a tinker's arse,
Or a damn.
If they said 'Admission Free',
No-one would give a brass...razoo!

3. When will her music hit the stage?
When her time...come of age?
When will the orchestra turn the page?

Free Lyrics
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The story

Who Cares! is about Peggy Glanville-Hicks who …won an international reputation as a composer – more especially as an opera composer – and was the first, among the few women in this field, to achieve such distinction… (1)

Peggy Glanville-Hicks

Peggy Glanville-Hicks

Portrait by Joyce McGrath
State Library of Victoria (purchased 2007)
Used by kind permission of the artist

Peggy was born in Melbourne in 1912. In 1931, at the age of 19, she went to London, taking up a scholarship to the Royal College of Music. Returning to live in Australia in the late 1970s, she died in Sydney in 1990.

When she and her husband, the English composer Stanley Bate, came to Australia just prior to WW2, she was virtually ignored while Stanley was feted…

In her biography, Peggy Glanville-Hicks, published in 1992, Wendy Beckett says:

“Stanley was welcomed into the music circles of Melbourne and his participation noted in newspapers. Peggy became simply the composer’s wife. Remarkably, this went unchallenged by friends and family…”

At the end of their first year in Australia they moved from Melbourne to Sydney, where Stanley had been invited to work on a string and piano orchestral piece for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra. With no options open to her musically, Peggy decorated their small apartment in Potts Point and felt neglected.” (2)


(1) Peggy Glanville-Hicks (1912-1990): Represented Artist. Australian Music Centre. Used by kind permission of the AMC
(2) Copyright Wendy Beckett, Peggy Glanville-Hicks, Angus & Robertson, 1992; used by kind permission of the author.