|||Children of the Sun

Children of the Sun

Soprano, Horn, and Piano

Written for soprano Gretchen d’Armand. Text by Robert Louis Stevenson.

  1. The Sun’s Travels
  2. Rain
  3. The Swing
  4. At the Sea-Side
  5. Auntie’s Skirts
  6. Happy Thought
  7. Summer Sun
Composed: 1978
Duration: 15:00
Publisher: E. C. Schirmer Music Company
Catalog Number(s): 0167


Children of the Sun is a cycle of seven songs set to poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson. The pieces are light-hearted and fun, imaginatively set in atonal musical language. Each piece depicts a tiny scene or mood, with titles like Rain, At the Sea Side, and Summer Sun. For example, in The Swing, Perera employs Sprechstimme to express the excitement of a child going up and down on a swing. Tremolos and sweeping glissandos depict the swing’s movements. One particularly playful piece is Auntie’s Skirts, written in a comic blues style.

Music Library Association, NOTES 3/84

Here are seven poems from that favorite collection for children, A Child’s Garden of Verse by Robert Louis Stevenson. Included are The Sun’s Travels, Rain, The Swing, At the Sea Side, Auntie’s Skirts, Happy Thought, and Summer Sun. The words create a world of serenity and happiness. The music reflects this: some of the words suggesting the mood at the beginning of each song are “exuberantly,” “vividly,” “impetuously,” “very marked,” “with serenity.” The music is very dissonant, with little sense of tonality, but the melody line carries the text expressively, and all the parts dance along most attractively. The horn some times reinforces the voice or piano, but more often adds a new melody. This is delightful music, about sixteen minutes in length, with a pitch range for the soprano C4 – A5.

NATS Bulletin 3/14/87

Children of the Sun


Score Sample:

View Score

Audio Excerpt:

Movement 1