This cycle is brief, colourful and highly accessible. Those familiar with Carter’s later, extremely complex music need have no fears, because this earlier, neo-classical idiom is not exacting and will not tax the inexperienced singer. The songs make a bright, extrovert impression and abound in rhythmic verve. A high baritone with a youthful timbre would be the ideal voice to bring out the texts with freshness and clarity. As with much American song literature, the delivery should be frank and unaffected. Particular care must be taken to banish any trace of strongly English pronunciation of consonants which might result in a stylised preciousness that would be singularly inappropriate. Despite its straightforward musical idiom, the work contains many subtle details and an imaginative palette of colours. The underlying strength and vigour so typical of this major 20th-century composer are predominant features.
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