e-mail Martin Wesley-Smith Tall Poppies Records Quito Boojum!

scores, parts, CDs etc are available from
The Australian Music Centre

most lyrics are by Peter Wesley-Smith

from Fanfare, "The Magazine for Serious Record Collectors",
USA, p99, Vol 16, No. 5, May/June 1993:
Your reward is learning about Boojum!, a "light-hearted but deadly-serious choral fantasy" ... (the authors) have fashioned an irresistible contemporary musical snark hunt ... subtitled "Nonsense, Truth, and Lewis Carroll", (it) is partly a psychological profile of the Reverend Charles Dodgson ... For heaven's sake, indulge yourself in Boojum! Sit down with the libretto in the jewel box when you can be uninterrupted for two hours and experience this grand entertainment ...


Boojum!full-length work for soloists, choir, perc & pno
Black Ribbonsix singers, choir & orchestra
children's songs for children to perform
doublethink for six singers, a cappella
Lollipop Man for five singers, a cappella
Lost in Space for children to perform
Machine for children to perform
Manners for Men for secondary schools to perform
M. C. Pig
Pi in the Sky opera for children to perform
Several Australian Barbershop Quartets male quartet, a cappella
Several Australian Conservation Songs six voices, a cappella
Songs for Snark-Hunters choir & pno
Songs of Australia
Songs for Kids [SATB]
Songs for Kids [SSA]
Songs for Kids [SSATBarB]
Thank Evans
(Australian Foreign Policy
& East Timor, 1975-1999)

SATB & piano
Three Shakespeare Songs for choir, a cappella
Tiananmen Square
True deals with issues to do with being gay or lesbian
Walk in the Light gospel
Who Killed Cock Robin?a conservation piece, a classic
Wild West Show, Thefor children to perform

David Vance, The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon June 29 1981:
"Martin Wesley-Smith's amusing polemic on the dangers of pesticides - Who Killed Cock Robin? - proved a clever piece of music theatre and black comedy: its catalogue of nasty chemicals in the woodshed is a particularly powerful piece of writing after the vampy torch song of a leggy caterpillar."
Roger Covell, The Sydney Morning Herald, Mon Nov 28 1983:
"Martin Wesley-Smith's Who Killed Cock Robin?, a highly-eclectic show-piece and a riotous send-up carrying an environmental message for good measure ... this skilful and memorable piece ..."
David Gyger, Opera Australia, August 1989:
"In Boojum!, Songs for Snark-Hunters and Songs of Australia, the Wesley-Smiths have come up with a genuinely innovative, undemandingly popularist, satirical musical theatre genre that is unmistakably Australian and thoroughly entertaining; and one that is at the same time intermittently spiced with explicit concern for larger issues such as the environment, the Indonesian rape of East Timor and the absurd trivialising values of commercial television."
The Alberta NEW MUSIC & ARTS REVIEW, (Canada),
Vol. I No. 2, Summer 1998/Spring 1999, pp.110-112:
about Quito: "a stylistically striking, and profoundly disturbing, postmodern collage ... beautifully reflects the essence of the real-life drama ... superbly put together ... a sonic landscape full of allusions, cross-references, widely differentiated styles ... and suddenly shifting textures - a truly 'schizophrenic' narrative, a tour de force of contemporary audio art ... A masterpiece."

choral works

* blank nothing nothing nothing
Boojum! 1985 soloists, choir, pno & perc

"experience this
grand entertainment ..."


120 see separate page

full-length piece of "choral music theatre"
about the life, work & ideas of Lewis Carroll

released on CD
by Vox Australis

Black Ribbon 2001 six singers, choir
& orchestra


60 about Australia 100 years on from
Federation; some individual songs
available separately

see libretto

doublethink 2005 SSATBarB, a cappella

"... capturing the ongoing fascination of the
Wesley-Smiths with language and meaning ...
mordant text and wicked musical parody
make this yet another of those immensely
captivating works that keep mind and spirit
alert." David Vance, Sydney Morning Herald,
Monday 13 June 2005


12 the destruction of language
and thus of our ability
to detect the lies and propaganda
of governments and economic oligarchs ...

see libretto

Lollipop Man 1989 SATTB, a cappella


3 sung with great success
by The Song Company
after President Clinton
had made oral sex respectable
M. C. Pig 1989 choir & piano


5 a humorous song about a
male chauvinist pig
Quito 1994-7 a cappella sextet

"a tour de force of
contemporary audio art ...
A masterpiece."


52 see separate page

radio, stage or concert work
about schizophrenia and East Timor

released on CD
by Tall Poppies Records

Several Australian
Barbershop Quartets
1991 male quartet


a collection of 7 songs:
The Day We Found O'Reilly's Chook
in Mrs Boon's Backyard
Poor Paddy O'Rourke, from Mudgee
Ain't Natural
Lines by a Lovelorn Cowhand
Recruiting Song
(The Crooked Back Whackers' League)
I Got Him with a Googly

do any number in any order
warning: some are considered a bit risqué!
banned by the barbershop quartet
movement in Australia!
Several Australian
Conservation Songs
1991 a cappella sextet


10 Who Stopped the Rain?
Freddie the Fish
Nobody Cares Anymore
Songs for Kids 1990 SATB, a cappella
(choir or quartet)

GALA Choruses
Festival IV
Denver, Colorado,
USA, 1992


a collection of 16 children's songs:
I'm Walking in the City
But Stanley Hiccolo Plays Drums
I Feel Sick
Lost in Space
I'm a Caterpillar of Society
The Garbage Men (and Women)
Higgledy Piggledy
Lost Snail
Climb the Rainbow
Hey Diddle Diddle
Freddie the Fish
My Dog Has Fleas

do any number in any order
some lyrics by Ann North
Songs for Kids 1990 SSA etc, a cappella
(female or unbroken
male voices)


blank a collection of 10 children's songs:
We're Walking in the City [SSA]
I Wish I Wasn't Me
We're a Caterpillar of Society
Train Song
The Garbage Girls
Wonderful Things
Lost Snail
My Dog Has Fleas
The Hunting of the Snark
do any number in any order
some lyrics by Ann North
Songs for Kids 1990 SSATBarB, a cappella
(choir or sextet)


blank a collection of 12 children's songs
do any number in any order
some lyrics by Ann North
Songs for Snark-Hunters
(from Boojum!)
1985 choir & pno


15 several songs from Boojum!
tied together

commissioned by the
Sydney Philharmonia
Motet Choir
Songs of Australia 1988 choir, pno & perc

"laconic irony"


35 individual songs from this work
can be performed separately
Thank Evans
(Australian Foreign Policy
& East Timor, 1975-1999)
2000 SATB & pno


15 political satire in the style of
Who Killed Cock Robin?

funny but serious

Tiananmen Square 1989 a cappella choir


5 lyric by Shirley Shackleton
Three Shakespeare Songs 1965
a cappella choir


10 Desdemona's Song,
Ariel's Song etc
True 2002 sop, choir, fl & pno


30 a song cycle, commissioned by
The Canberra Gay and Lesbian Qwire

deals with gay and lesbian issues

includes the (soon-to-be-a-hit) song
We Thought We'd Lost You, Johnny

see libretto

"We thought we'd lost you, Johnny
The day you went away
And moved in with another lad
A boy we knew was gay
A house with just one bedroom
A room with just one bed
Oh Johnny, we asked in our anguish
Why not a girlfriend instead?"

Walk in the Light 1997 soloists plus
large a cappella choir
and children's choir


8 gospel style
Who Killed Cock Robin? 1979 a cappella choir

"this skilful and
memorable piece"


14 see separate page

a conservation piece,
a classic of Australian choral music

released on CD
by Tall Poppies Records

for kids to sing:
children's songs 1965- melodies & lyrics


15 a collection of songs
for children to sing
Lost in Space 1982 children's choir & pno


15 for primary schoolchildren

very popular!

Machine 1972 children's music theatre


15 published by Universal Edition
Manners for Men 1998 for secondary school
soloists, choir, pno
(four hands) & percussion


15 commissioned by
MLC School, Sydney

see separate page

Pi in the Sky 1971 opera for schoolchildren


60 temporarily withdrawn
The Wild West Show 1970 children's song-cycle


15 published by Universal Edition

Wish to order? Contact
The Australian Music Centre

Peter McCallum, Sydney Morning Herald, Wed Sept 3 1997:

Songs of Australia

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Choir
Sydney Town Hall, August 31 1997

It would be nice if Martin and Peter Wesley-Smith's Songs of Australia had become somewhat dated. Written in 1988 to inject some laconic irony into that year's uncritical nationalism, it used musical cliche to serve up to us the non-news stories of that year - the things that weren't OK, such as racism, materialism, homophobia, anti-intellectualism and subservience to media and cultural oligarchies.

Unfortunately the irony has, if anything, sharpened. And what a shame, as Martin Wesley-Smith said in his spoken introduction, that the ABC Song was omitted from this condensed version. Since then, what seemed like paranoia has proved to be prophecy and much of that which was politically correct in 1988 has become historically correct in 1997. A shame, then, that it demands not updating, but simply repeating ...

index the works
Martin Wesley-Smith | Peter Wesley-Smith
mw-s works: | Quito | Boojum! | Cock Robin | Mrs H Remembers | X | Manners for Men
mw-s discography | articles, letters etc (re East Timor, Conservatorium)

March 8 2007