Carol Jones (soprano), Douglas Mews (piano). Recorded by RNZ Concert, 25 March 1976.
Douglas Mews (1918–1993) studied in London, graduating with BMus in 1939 and DMus in 1961. Following World War II, he became a Professor and examiner at Trinity College of Music (1946–1963) and a lecture at Colchester Technical College (1963–1968). Mews emigrated to Auckland in 1969, joining the staff of the Music Department at the University of Auckland where, in 1974, he was made Associate Professor of Music until his retirement in 1984. From 1970–1982 he was Director of Music at Auckland’s St Patrick’s Cathedral, and in 1990 received a Papal Knighthood.
'Japan Physical' is a cycle of four songs for soprano and piano. The texts are by the English poet James Kirkup, from a book of the same title, written while the poet was living in Japan in the 1960s. The four songs are titled ‘First Kimono’, ‘Japanese Umbrella’, ‘Sumo Wrestlers’, and ‘Japanese Cradle Song’. Kirkup was influenced by Japanese poetic forms such as haiku, and there is a similar clarity in Mews’s musical setting.