Easter Song is a setting of a poem written by the Midland poet Edgar Billingham. Billingham was not only an accomplished poet, but was also an artist and a dedicated and well-respected schoolmaster. His first book of poetry 'Midlands Poems' was given to the composer by the poet's widow, who commissioned Venables to set the final poem 'Easter Song'. Combining both Christianity and Paganism, its essential message is one of renewal, or, in the Christian sense, resurrection. The weighty piano writing and high vocal tessitura enhance the poem's mood of affirmation, and its closing bars contain some of the most powerful music to be found in the composer's output.
Easter Song, Op. 16