Duration: 3 minutes
First Performance: June 1993, at the Countess of Huntingdon’s Hall, Worcester, given by Thomas Hunt and Graham Lloyd.
Available from: Novello and Co
Easter Song is a setting of a poem written by Midlands poet Edgar Billingham. Billingham was not only an accomplished poet, but was also an artist 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.