Cock Crow: Rosemary Dobson in Words and Music Review

Review by John Pollak from the Sydney Arts Guide.

'Shaun Ng displayed a mastery of both instruments.'


Have you ever considered the fate of the humble childhood toy  “Jack in the box”  ?

Well, Rosemary Dobson has:

“He crouches low and supplicant/His elbows knocking on the wood…/He waits the tapping at the locks/He hears the children calling”Jack!”…/They think he sleeps, but how he weeps/His small tears falling with no sound……”

Rosemary Dobson was a distinguished and prolific Australian poet who died in 2012 at the age of 92. Her poetry is somewhat more intellectual and detached rather than visceral…but nevertheless she still writes movingly of the human experience.

COCK CROW puts a handful of her poems in a musical context. Leonie Cambage is the poet’s voice (she trained as an opera singer), Shaun Ng plays Lute, Viola da Gamba and Theorbo, and Diana Weston plays Harpsichord.

The concert took place in a delightful setting, the Mosman Art Gallery, where its exposed red brickwork and stained glass windows gave the performance a fine acoustic edge and an ambiance quite suited to the poetry. The music was a comment and reinforcement of the poetry.

This was no ordinary artistic performance. Their dedication of the performers to the work and to their fellow artists created a rare intimacy. We all listened, hushed in silence and concentration, to this unique event. If you like poetry, and you like music and you want to hear more of Rosemary Dobson’s poems listen to this talented group of musicians when you get a chance.

Leonie Cambage gave a clear polished faultless recitation of the poetry. Shaun Ng displayed a mastery of both instruments. He is a Doctor of Musical Arts from Sydney University. Diana Weston’s playing demonstrated why her reputation for mastery of the harpsichord extends beyond Australia.

The concert COCK CROW : ROSEMARY DOBSON IN WORDS AND MUSIC took place last Sunday afternoon at the Mosman Art Gallery, Art Gallery Way, Mosman.