• Thea Musgrave
  • Wild Winter I: Lamentations for voices and viols (1993)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Lichfield Festival

  • viol consort(2tr.ten.2bs)
  • soprano, 2 tenors, bass
  • 19 min

Programme Note


This work was commissioned by the Lichfield Festival and was first performed by Red Byrd and Fretwork on July 16, 1993 in the Lichfield Cathedral.

One of the challenges of writing Wild Winter was to find an appropriate text to commemorate the Siege of Lichfield. When I did not find a contemporary text that was suitably lyrical or dramatic, I had the idea that it might be interesting to select poems from many different times and countries.

The poems I eventually chose were non-specific as to time and place, yet they all shared the powerful emotions resulting from the inevitable losses and cruelties of any war. I also chose the poems because of certain words or phrases which I could use to overlap or link the setting of one poem with another - their merging cries of protest creating a sonic tapestry of shared experience.

To mention a few examples:-
War broke and the winter of the world....(Owen)
No se oye otra cose que el llanto (weeping)....(Lorca)
Do not weep maiden, for war is kind.......(Crane)
Le donne lagrimose....(women, weeping)..(Petrarch)
Den wilden Orgel des Wintersturms....(wild, winterstorm)..(Trakl)
...Wilde Wölfe...(wild wolves)
Wild winter....(Owen)

I made English translations of all these poems (inevitably rather free so the words would be comfortably singable) - however, to emphasize the universality of human response to the consequences of war, I would prefer they be sung in their original languages.

For me, thoughts of this distant war, the Siege of Lichfield, brings to mind my concern and outrage with the happenings in the world today, where we are witnessing once again "man's inhumanity to man".

Thea Musgrave. June 1993.


Wild Winter I: Prologue: War broke: and now the Winter of the world
Wild Winter I: Lament I: He cerrado mi balcon
Wild Winter I: Lament II: Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind
Wild Winter I: Lament III: Guerre, o guerre occupee au choc des escadrons
Wild Winter I: Interlude: ????? ? ?????? ?????
Wild Winter I: Lament IV: Le donne lagrimose, e'l vulgo inerme
Wild Winter I: Lament V: Den wilden Orgeln des Wintersturms
Wild Winter I: Coda: … (Wild) winter closes in …


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