This brief cycle by John Beckwith is a gem. One rarely finds such assurance and panache combined with natural musicality and a perfect dovetailing of voice and piano. The music’s appeal is immediate. A variety of contrasting moods is displayed during the cycle’s short span. The singer should feel completely comfortable throughout. The economy of the writing is truly admirable and highly appropriate to the conciseness of the texts. A sparkling vitality is evident and it is no surprise to learn that this work brought the composer his first major success. It is difficult to imagine a better choice for someone seeking a short cycle with wide appeal; it ought to be recognised as a miniature classic. The vocal writing is expertly idiomatic, and there are some especially captivating and aptly pictorial figurations in the accompaniments. The songs would be equally well suited to a tenor or a soprano, preferably with a youthful and pliant voice, who is able to produce the purest tone and enunciate neatly. The rather conservative musical style sounds completely fresh and spontaneous.
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