This cycle of five songs for baritone and piano was awarded the Philip Neill Prize by the University of Otago in 1991. It expresses five perspectives on the concept of time, some humorous and some more contemplative.
I have long been drawn to e e cummings’ extraordinary lyrical gifts. In fact, I set the fourth poem in this set (“my sweet old etcetera”) nearly 50 years ago. This setting was lost, but I’m sure the new one is much better! Each of the songs is a celebration: the first of the silent singing of children sculpted in stone; the second of kite-flying; the third a hymn to God and nature; the fourth a love-song from the muddy trenches of World War 1; and the last one of cummings’ many songs of the joys of Spring.