Five songs for soprano and piano, to poems by Christina Rees
- 8 minutes
- Download the lyrics
- Empty Night
- To Entice You
- The Day We Met
- I Learn My Name
This set of five songs was composed in 1985 and was first performed that year by soprano (and the poet), Christina Rees in Harston, near Cambridge, UK.
Christina Rees is a member of the General Synod of the Church of England. She is a writer, speaker and broadcaster, and a contributor to BBC Radio 4's Thought for the Day.
The poems evoke the countless moods associated with a relationship.
The first song evokes the desolation of a separation; free use of tonality, chromaticism and a persistent use of the augmented fourth interval within a minor mode, all reinforce the feeling of despair.
The mood lightens with the second song: erotic, seductive lyrics are enclosed within a gently sardonic waltz-style structure.
The third song uses a straightforward ternary structure, where the outer sections revert to unusually juxtaposed chords, as in the opening songs.
The fourth song is more relaxed, and uses a simple jazz-style piano chording to enhance the rather blatantly suggestive lyrics.
'Christening' concludes the set in triumphant mood. Set within a firm A Major tonality, it once again utilises chording remote from this key and chord clusters perhaps suggesting an ominous fragility beneath the superficial confidence of this finale.
25 October 1985, Harston Village Hall, (Cambs, UK), Christina Rees (soprano), Richard Lambert (piano)
In a letter to the composer dated 11 November 1985, Elizabeth Poston wrote: “Harston was very special because it was the nicest surprise imaginable, & all with the Richard hallmark. No one else could have thought of that enchanting mixture, all so perfectly in place & in the very nicest Village Hall of my experience. A joy throughout. A lovely opportunity, too, to hear your songs in which I particularly admired your playing – not an easy piano part – while one was rather taken up trying to get the words, tho’ the main thing was a hearing of the whole, & that was very rewarding.”