Ralph Middenway wrote music for a variety of combinations of instruments, or of voices with or without instruments, using texts in English, Latin, German, Latvian and Swedish.

The Australian Music Centre has a collection of his scores. Music publisher, Alexander St Press (Virginia) has a collection of his work. The University of Tasmania library holds some scores and his papers.

His two most frequently broadcast (and thus probably best-known) pieces are:

The Eye of Heaven – 5 Shakespeare sonnets for baritone and string quartet

Toyokawa (East River) – piano sonata The kanji: ‘Toyokawa Inari-jinja’

His first opera, The Letters of Amalie Dietrich, was commissioned by State Opera of South Australia. His second, Barossa, a big Singspiel, was commissioned for the Bicentennial by the Music Department of the South Australian College of Advanced Education, now part of the Elder Conservatorium (the piece has since been revised). His third opera was The Tempest. The fourth was  The Sun of Umbria, about St Francis of Assisi, using the poetry of Clive Sansom and was written as part of the PhD and performed in Hobart.

The following more or less complete list of his music is roughly graded according to difficulty: it includes short pieces for primary and secondary school strings, and student pieces for wind and brass. There is a flamboyant sinfonia concertante for brass quintet and orchestra. There are some demanding song cycles and a tricky cabaret piece, and the four operas – all of these need top-class professional singers. And there is a brass band piece and some Prom concert frivolity.

The Australia Council contributed to the commissioning of half of these pieces. Funding also came from the Australian Bicentennial Authority, Arts SA, the Suntory Foundation, the University of Adelaide Foundation, the Mara Dole Foundation, Mary Branagan, Jane Bradhurst, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Hobart City Council and St David’s Cathedral, Hobart. His PhD was funded by an Australian Postgraduate Award.

Voices plus

The Stream of Time Okura (2 poems) Soprano Bass clarinet & piano 10′

Music and Sweet Poetry Robert Banfield Tenor Guitar 5′

Songs of Poverty (6 Japanese poets) Baritone Piano 20′

Ishikawa (Stone River) Hitomaro (9 poems) Mezzo Piano 20′

The Eye of Heaven Shakespeare (5 sonnets) Baritone String quartet 15′

(in Swedish) Sångernas Sång (Song of Solomon) SSAATBB Flute, cello & organ 4′

Dark River Edna St Vincent Millay (8 poems) Soprano/mezzo Viola & piano 30′

The Eye of Heaven (Five Canzonets) Shakespeare (5 sonnets) Baritone String quartet 15′

The Shepherd & the Nymph Marlowe & Ralegh Soprano,baritone Piano 8′

(in Latvian) Dzimumdiena Roberts Dambitis Baritone Oboe & piano 4′

Seven Songs John Donne Baritone 17 strings 20′

The Enchanted Island – from The Tempest William Shakespeare Soprano, baritone Orchestra 30′

The Sun of Umbria (cantata about St Francis of Assisi) Clive Sansom STB, SSAATTBB Flute, cor anglais, perc., string 5tet or orchestra 48′

What is our life? (nine poems) Ralegh Baritone Chamber ensemble

Indra’s net Hollis G Zelinsky Soprano Cello & piano 17’

Minnelieder Walther von der Vogelweide Baritone Guitar & cello

Madchenlieder Walther von der Vogelweide Soprano Lute, viola da gamba & percussion


Missa omnibus sanctis (The ordinary of the mass) SATB soli SSAATBB chorus 15′

Lutebook Lullaby William Ballett S solo SATB chorus 3′

Before the light fades Frances Bellerby SATB chorus 3′

Lamentations of Jeremiah (the traditional text) SATB soli SSAATBB chorus 20′

The Eye of Heaven (Five Canzonets) Shakespeare S solo SATB chorus (divisi) 15′

Choral plus

Praise the Lord (A wedding anthem) SSAATTBB Organ 3′

Child of Heaven (A set of meditations on Personent hodie) S, SSATBB 6 brass, 2 percussion 15

(in Latin) Gaudeamus igitur (Traditional arrangement) SSAATTBB Orchestra 4′


Two marches Organ 3’ea

A Terribly Simple Symphony Strings – primary level (first position) 10′

Mosaics 1 4 tpt, 3 hn, 4 trb., t. tba, tba, 2 perc.  15′

Mosaics 2 Flute, clarinet, bassoon 10′

Homage to Louis Couperin Strings – secondary level 10′

The Seven Ages of Man – after As You Like It Brass quintet – student level 15′

Romance Wind quintet & brass quintet – student level 15′

Mosaics 4 Alto saxophone / bass clarinet Percussion 10′

Summer Night Guitar 5’’

Mosaics 5 Percussion or piano 15′

Farmer Giles – Rustic Scenes Clarinet sextet – student level 15′

Heian (City of Peace) – meditations on 7 buildings in old Kyoto, representing 7 world views Koto, flute(s), clarinet(s), viola, cello, light percussion 20′

Toyokawa (East River) Sonata – meditations on Toyokawa’s Shinto shrine to the Happy God Piano 20′

Brass band Match of the Day Crowd, First half, Half-time, Second half,

The Losers, The Winners Brass band 10′

Listeners’ Digest Condensed Brandenburg Concertos Student level – chamber orchestra 10′

 Mosaics 3 Saxophone chorus, electric instruments Orchestra 20′

 Sinfonia Concertante Brass quintet Orchestra 15′

Transcription Concertino French horn String orchestra 20′

Play music

Blood Wedding – Federico Garcia Lorca

The Good Person from Setzuan -Berthold Brecht

Twelfth Night -William Shakespeare

The Way of the World – William Congreve

The Country Wife – William Wycherley

A Man’s a Man – Berthold Brecht

Everyman – Jane Bradhurst Actors, fl., ob., b. clar., keyboard, perc.  35′

A Sure and Certain Hope – Chris Tugwell Actors, fl., cor, b. clar, 2 keyboards 30′


Tsar Nikita and his Forty Daughters – Aleksandr Pushkin 29′


The Letters of Amalie Dietrich – Andrew Taylor 75′

Barossa – Andrew Taylor 120′ + interval

The Tempest – from William Shakespeare 135′ + interval

The Sun of Umbria 48’

 Realisation Play of Daniel 75′