Winter Words (song cycle)

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Winter Words, Op. 52, is a song cycle for tenor and piano by Benjamin Britten. Written in 1953, it sets eight poems by Thomas Hardy.[1] Winter Words is one of Britten's few compositions from the period after the premiere of his opera Gloriana; its poems are from Hardy's last published collection, having the same title. The cycle was premiered at the Leeds Festival in October 1953, with Peter Pears singing and Britten at the piano. It was dedicated to John and Myfanwy Piper.[2]

A performance takes about 22 minutes.[2] The poems are:[3]

  1. "At Day-Close in November"
  2. "Midnight on the Great Western" (or, "The Journeying Boy")
  3. "Wagtail and Baby (A Satire)"
  4. "The Little Old Table"
  5. "The Choirmaster's Burial" (or, "The Tenor Man's Story")
  6. "Proud Songsters (Thrushes, Finches and Nightingales)"
  7. "At the Railway Station, Upway" (or, "The Convict and Boy with the Violin")
  8. "Before Life and After"


  1. ^ "Winter Words". Britten-Pears Foundation. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Benjamin Britten: Winter Words, song cycle for tenor & piano, Op. 52 at AllMusic. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
  3. ^ "Winter words: Song Cycle by (Edward) Benjamin Britten (1913–1976)". The LiederNet Archive. Retrieved 30 April 2015.