Voice and instrumental ensemble

For female reciter, flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion

Poem in old English translated by Bill Manhire

Wulf was commissioned by Auckland Contemporary Music Rostrum and first performed by them on 24 April 1977 at the Maidment Theatre in Auckland conducted by William Southgate with Ros Clark (reciter).

About the work

Bill Manhire writes: ‘The old English poem “Wulf and Eadwacer” has always puzzled scholars, to the extent that it was at one time thought to be a riddle. The poem is now generally assumed to be the lament of a woman separated from her lover, Wulf. Who Wulf is, or was, remains obscure.

‘[The text of] Wulf is a fairly free version of the Old English poem. I have not attempted to “solve” any of problems of the original poem, but I hope that Wulf maintains, as it were, the emotion of the original, and that its voice is as suggestive. What is taken from the speaker, for instance, may be a child, born or unborn — ‘the spine of a feather, a cloud in the body”. Or it may be, simply, the possibility of love.’

Score and recording

Borrow the score from SOUNZ.

Wulf — SOUNZ

You may be able to borrow an RNZ recording of the premiere in 1977 from Ngā Taonga Sound and Vision

Wulf — Ngā Taonga