Songs of the Clifftop for Baritone and Piano No Three "Puffin"

Additional Information



Composed as part of the British Composers Guild 50th celebrations in 1994. Recorded by Mark Rowlinson Baritone, and Peter Lawson Piano in 2003.

Three settings of poems by Steve Hopson Sea Bird, After the Kill, Puffin.

The imagery of the poems of Songs of the Cliff-Top with their strong reference to the natural order of life mirrors the ancient mysticism of Hea. This old God of nature, demanded nothing. The poetic landscape of these poems portrays a god not capable of love or hate good or evil but possessing the eternal logic of nature.

“It is enough to live and die signing the purpose with our actions” 



Three settings of poems by Steve Hobson allow the composer David Golightly, (born 1948), to explore a poetic landscape that is by turns bleak and exhilarating. The songs form a cycle entitled Songs of the Clifftop. Here is a less idealised view of nature full of powerful elements and the animals that struggle against them. Among the finest on the recording, these songs also attempt to describe the relationship between nature and music as outlined by Thomas Carlyle; ‘…the heart of nature being everywhere music….’. Golightly and Hobson catch a rare immediacy in their nature music that chimes with the approach of Holst in a work such as Egdon Heath.
David Hackbridge Johnson Music Web

Even more atmospheric are songs from the cycle "Songs of the Clifftop" by David Golightly. These describe sea-birds and natural sights on a cliff over the ocean. The vividness of the images is described well. "The Sea Bird" seems to float soundlessly in the air, just as a sea-bird circles in flight, hovering, not flapping. This music is keenly observed, as if the composer has spent time alone with nature, understanding its pulse. It is subtle, and unobtrusive, as if the composer knows that anything too emphatic might startle the birds and send them fleeing. It is made for visual imagination – how beautiful and effective it would be combined with a good, sensitive nature documentary, that most noble form of British film art. It would also be a rewarding challenge to perform in recital.

Anne Ozorio Music Web

Score avaialble from Modrana Music Publishers Ltd or as a digital download at Sheet Music plus.


1. Sea Bird; 2. After the Kill; 3. Puffin
Song (Voice w/wo 1 instr)
Modrana Music Publishers Ltd
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Songs of the Cliff Top

Frosterley , County Durham
United Kingdom
54° 43' 37.236" N, 1° 57' 55.404" W
County Durham GB