Neil Morrison & Penelope Grace – Australian Recitations


Neil Morrison – bio
Neil arrived in Australia in 1938, aged 12. He was educated at Fairbrige Farm School Molong, NSW. He learned such skills as Hand Milking, and ploughing with a team of 16 horses. After leaving the land he worked as a copy boy with the Daily Telegraph before enlisting in the AIF, when he turned 18. Neil was a raw recruit at Cowra when the Japanese broke out of the prisoner of war camp.
He was on his final exercise in jungle training when peace was declared. He then served in Occupation forces in Japan for 2 years.
When he returned to Australia, he did a variety of jobs including working as a navvy on the Sydney tram lines. He became a teacher, then an Inspector of Schools.
In 1983, he took early retirement when he was called to the Bar. He remained a barrister for 23 years.
Neil learned to love Australian Poety at school in Fairbbridge, Throughout his life he has been passionate about the spoken word. He has always liked reciting poetry and co authored a book, “The Sound of Poetry”.
With a colleague, James Gastineuu-Hills, he released a critically acclaimed CD “Burns with a Fiddle” in which he recited some of Burn’s major works.
Neil developed a one man show “Wallaby Stew” which featured Australian Poetry.
Violinist Penelope Grace, introduced her own compositions to the show and “Wallaby Stew” took on a new dimension.
They are frequent performers at Folk Festivals, and gatherings.
Their current release “Australian Recitiations” is a collection of well loved Australian Poetry, a must for those who appreciate Australian Poetry.

Penelope Grace – bio
November 2009 Penelope always wanted to play the violin and her parents eventually found a teacher for her when she was eight years old. She went on to study all aspects of music at the Sydney Conservatorium and has played violin and viola as a professional — and as an ‘unpaid professional’ — virtually ever since. Also, Penelope taught privately and in schools for many years.
When her personal circumstances took their second big jolt in the mid 1990s she found herself in a situation where her best chance of continuing to play music lay in joining a community orchestra. Folk musicians also welcomed her, giving her the chance to improvise and put her personal stamp on performances, particularly of Celtic music.
The invitation to collaborate with Neil Morrison about seven years ago was what really unleashed her creative spirit. She gets a kick out of composing a unique soundtrack for each of the poems Neil presents to her: she loves setting the scene, describing the quirky characters, building up the suspense and highlighting the drama.
Penelope values Neil’s opinion on the music she writes. Is it because he seldom wants any changes?

AUSTRALIAN RECITATIONS- A review by Russell Hannah If, like me, you were raised on Stewart and Keesing’s, Australian Bush Ballads (I’ve still got my copy in a very tattered form that I’ve had since 1956) then you will love Neil Morrison’s new CD, Australian Recitations. From the ubiquitous ‘anon’ Through Lawson, Paterson, Dennis, O’Brien, Daley, Spencer to Dorothea Mackellar and Dame Mary Gilmore, Neil covers a gamut of Australia’s best loved poems and poets. No histrionics here- every word is enunciated clearly and there is no ambiguity about the meaning of each word and each verse. Neil, now in his eighties, shows the benefit in these recitations, of many years of public speaking as a teacher, school inspector and later a barrister. Underlying these clear presentations are the original fiddle compositions of Penelope Grace. Penelope’s playing raises the album above the norm for poetry recordings. The background music is subdued to the extent that it never detracts from the essential voice recitations and provides a useful link, not only between items, but also verses where a dramatic pause is used. It is a well produced work by producers Graham Wilson and John Roy. Accompanying the CD is a booklet which has potted histories of each poem and poet with an easy to read layout designed by Neil’s granddaughter Nancy. The histories are complemented by pictures, graphics and photographs by the Illawarra Folk Club’s Graeme Morrison, who is Neil’s son. The classics are all there, Old Botany Bay, The Man From Snowy River, The Play, Said Hanrahan, How McDougal Topped the Score, Outback, Bush Christening, Clancy and The Man From Ironbark. The recording appropriately ends with one of Australia’s best known and loved poems, Dorothea Mackellar’s, My Country. For mine, however, I enjoyed Neil’s heroic interpretation of Victor Daly’s (Creeve Rowe) ‘Ballad of Eureka’ which is backed with Penelope’s stirring and varied fiddle tunes. Neil’s deep seated interest in Australia’s rich heritage of folk lore and verse is evident in this recording. (Neil was in fact with John Meredith when he collected the now iconic, Denis O’Reilly, from an old fellow in a nursing home). He is an old style reciter, very much in the tradition of the late Leonard Teale. In fact it would be fair to say that, even though there is no new material in this album, its presentation and interpretation makes it the most significant addition to the recording of classic and traditional Australian Poetry since Teale’s time. If you love Australian verse, and you like it done traditionally with a rich voice and a precise manner, then you shouldn’t go past Australian Recitations. Add it to your collection.

7 in stock (can be backordered)

SKU: TN1409-15 Category:

Additional information

Weight .150 kg
Dimensions 21 × 15 × 1 cm


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