Thomas Hardy published his first book of verse, 'Wessex Poems', in 1898. This was followed by 'Poems of the Past and Present' in 1901, 'Time's Laughing-Stocks' in 1909, 'Satires of Circumstance' in 1914, and 'Moments of Vision' in 1917. It is from the last of these volumes that Ian Venables chose to set the poem 'A Kiss'. Its two stanzas contrast the naïve impulses of an innocent love with love as an eternal theme. The composer chose to create an almost identical soundworld for both, with only subtle changes to voice and piano in texture and tessitura. This song shows Venables' ability to write a diatonic melody that is accompanied by a highly chromatic language. It is bordering on the discordant, but never at the expense of resolution.
A Kiss, Op. 15
Album d'un voyageur, S156/R8, Book I, "Impressions et Poesies": A Kiss, Op. 15