The Curlew's Song

Oxford University Press
Catalog # 0-19-386689-7


Tommy Makem/arr. Paul Carey

Arranged for SSAA/offstage flute
Secular text in English by Tommy Makem

Duration: 3 minutes
Difficulty rating (1-5): 3

 listen to The Curlew's Song

erformed by the James Madison Chorale Women at Texas MEA,
Edie Cooksey, director; Feb 14, 2008

Premiered May 21, 2000 by Vox Caelestis Women’s Chorus, Hinsdale, IL directed by  Paul Carey.

This was the first piece I wrote (actually an arrangement) after twenty-some years away from composition. In 2000, my (then) new group, Vox Caelestis, was in need of a short piece to balance out the programming of our first concert. This was also one of the first pieces which Christopher Johnson at Oxford University Press showed interest in, and we then had to set out to get Tommy Makem’s signature on the dotted line in order to publish the work. This took a while, as Tommy was constantly in transit from one Irish music festival to another.

Sherri and I were thrilled to meet Tommy backstage at The Milwaukee Irish Fest in the Summer of 2003 after his appearance there. We gave him a copy of the piece to keep, and he signed one for us. This piece is dedicated to my daughter Briana. It was finished on the same day as her nineteenth birthday.



I heard a curlew crying loud
on a moor where wild winds blew,
and the sound of his sad lonesome song
made me feel lonesome too.
Cold winter came and the moorland froze
the winds howl’d loud and long
and often echoed through the snows
I heard that curlew’s song.
Sweet sun-warm’d summer came along
from green-leaf’d days of Spring,
I soon forgot the lonesome song
I heard the curlew sing.





Click to See pdf Score
         (partial score)

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