Four Songs on Nineteenth Century Texts

for tenor and piano

forces: Tenor, Piano
published by: Composers Edition

The songs in this set are as follows:

  1. Song from ‘Torrismond’ [‘How many times do I love thee, dear?’] – Thomas Lovell Beddoes [1803-1849]
  2. ‘I hid my love’ – John Clare [1793-1864]
  3. A Superscription [‘Look on my face; my name is Might-have-been…’] – Dante Gabriel Rossetti [1828-1882]
  4. A Dirge [‘Why were you born when the snow was falling?’] – Christina Rossetti [1830-1894].

The first song is a revision from 2006 of a song first composed in 1977. The second dates from 2016, the third from 2012 and the last from 2013. The piano parts of these songs are relatively demanding – especially that of the first.

Programme Note

These songs were not composed in sequence, and may be performed either as a group or individually. If presented together, they form a kind of narrative not unlike that found in Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben cycle, except that the voice enlisted here is a tenor. Christina Rossetti’s poem is unspecific as to the gender of the person being addressed, who therefore can be plausibly imagined as the same figure invoked in the opening verses by Thomas Beddoes.


Programme Note