• Thea Musgrave
  • A Suite O' Bairnsangs (1953)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned for Scottish Festival, Braemar

  • voice/pf
  • 7 min

Programme Note

The words for this suite of children’s songs are by a well-known Scottish poet, Maurice Lindsay. The third poem, Willie Wabster, is from The Exiled Heart, while the other four are all from At the Wood’s Edge. The work was commissioned for the Scottish Festival at Braemar in 1953, while the composer was still a student with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. A brief resumé of the poems reads:

1. The Man-in-the Mune

The man in the moon’s got a crick in the back; he is in a rage and won’t come out to play.

2. Daffins (Daffodils)

The wind blowing yesterday must have shaken the sun, for some of the bright yellow sparks from off its flaming, fiery ball now lie round the roots of every tree: Daffodils so beautiful to see.

3. Willie Wabster

Who is Willie Wabster? He’s known from the very North to the South of Scotland ('from Scrabster to the silver Tweed') - he controls the rain, the thunder and even out of his pocket dangles down the colours of the rainbow. Is he God himself, the world, Lord, or is he just His 'clerk o’ weather'?

4. A Bairn’s Prayer at Nicht

'The stars crack the lift (sky) to let licht in
So please may the holes let out my sin.'

5. The Gean (The Cherry Tree)

All the trees are dancing in the winds of spring all except for the ladylike cherry tree, dressed up for everyone to see, with cloud tassels.

Programme note by Thea Musgrave


A Suite o' Bairnsangs: No. 1. The Man in the Moon
A Suite o' Bairnsangs: No. 2. Daffodils
A Suite o' Bairnsangs: No. 3. Willie Webster
A Suite o' Bairnsangs: No. 4. A Child's Prayer at Night
A Suite o' Bairnsangs: No. 5. The Cherry Tree