Remembering Martin Wesley-Smith (1945 - 2019)

Photo: Belinda Webster

Photo: Belinda Webster

All the birds of the air fell a-sighing and a-sobbing when they heard of the death of poor Cock Robin

I couldn't help but start singing this when I heard composer Martin Wesley-Smith had died.  Sydney Chamber Choir had a close connection with Martin over very many years. In 1980, the choir, under its first conductor, Nicholas Routley, commissioned his well known Who killed Cock Robin? I know a number of current and alumni singers will remember singing from those enormous spiral bound scores on stages in Sydney and regional NSW. At a function only last month we performed the very entertaining Caterpillar Song from this work about a tap dancing, bean-munching, fine-looking caterpillar threatened by poisonous pesticides.

Martin's loss to the choral music community is a great one and Sydney Chamber Choir shares in this loss. Martin leaves behind some of the most serious yet so comical compositions in our repertoire and in that of choirs around the world. His music expresses a deep concern for the environment and humanity and he understood how to communicate this by juxtaposing serious messages with lighthearted humour and through memorable tunes. We send our deep sympathy to his brother Peter and all his family and friends.

- Alison Lockhart, Sydney Chamber Choir President