6 Mother Courage Songs

1978 16 minutes
soprano and piano
Text Bertolt Brecht
Revised 2004
 Zurich, Switzerland
 Eglisau, Switzerland

One of the many collaborations with Don McAra Written for a production by Don McAra (and Mervin Thompson) for a production by the University Drama Society at the Ngaio Marsh Theatre (1972).

I later arranged these six songs for Fiona (solo soprano and piano) and still later (2009) for soprano and harp.

1. Here’s Mother Courage

Here’s Mother Courage with her wagon, Hey! Captain, let them come and buy! Beer by the keg and wine by the flagon, let your men drink before they die. Sabres and swords are hard to swallow, first you must give them some beer to drink, then they can take what’s to follow, but let them swim before they sink. Christians awake! the winter’s gone, the snows depart, the dead sleep on, and though you may not long survive, get out of bed and look alive!

Your men will march till they’re dead, sir, but cannot fight unless they eat. The blood they spill is red, sir, what fires that blood is my red meat. Meat and soup are jam and jelly, in this old cart of mine are found, so fill the hole up in your belly, before you fill one underground. Christians awake!…

Bertolt Brecht
Here's Mother Courage (Song 1)
Fiona Powell Soprano, Annette Burkhard piano
3. On the Highway

In March a tree we planted to make the garden gay. In June we were enchanted: a lovely rose was blooming, the balmy air perfuming! Blest of the Gods are they who have a garden gay! In June we were enchanted.

When snow falls helter skelter and loudly blows the storm, our farmhouse gives us shelter, the Winter’s in a hurry but we’ve no cause to worry, cosy and warm are we tho’ loudly blows the storm, our farmhouse gives us shelter.

Bertolt Brecht
On the Highway (Song 3)
Fiona Powell Soprano, Annette Burkhard piano