The Sorriest Cow of Capricorn was corrmissioned by the 1987 Guernsey Festival and first performed by Ann Mackay and John Constable.

This is Patterson’s first song cycle and uses words by Mervyn Peake. The five poems come from Peake’s ‘A Book of Nonsense’. On first reading they appear to be a lot of fun, full of silliness and superficial wit. But in common with his novels and children’s illustrations, they have a far darker side and belong to a strange, bizarre fantasy world of unusual images, sinister shapes and made-up words. Patterson attempts to keep to this spirit with his own typical combination of musical wit and seriousness.

Text: Mervyn Peake (Book of Nonsense)


Written 1987

Soprano and Piano
Length 15′

Commission: Guernsey Festival
Dedication: ‘To Richard Gregson Williams’
Publisher: Universal Edition

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