Poet:  Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-1973)

Source:  On This Island

Date of Composition:  1937 (Oct. 12)

Publication:  Boosey & Hawkes, 1938

Voice Difficulty Level: Moderately Difficult

Subject: A descriptive picture of the sea.

Range:  C4 – Ab5

Tessitura:  A4 – Eb5

Tempo: Allegro molto; 4/4

Duration:  02:21

Vocal Characteristics: Long phrases; independent vocal line with plentiful chromaticism; octave leaps; long melisma covers a P12 at the end of a phrase

Piano Difficulty Level:  Difficult

Accompaniment Characteristics: Rhythmic figures remain consistent for much of the song with ample chromaticism; syncopated chordal section; hands cross in passing sixteenth patterns

Additional Comments: In ms. 17, the Animato is not indicated in the manuscript, but each set of sixteenth notes has an accent rather than a sf, this recurs throughout the piece; ms. 18, the marcato is not marked in the manuscript, which continues throughout the piece; ms. 21-22, the manuscript does not have the alternate pitches; ms. 27, first Bb in the right hand of the piano is split into two, articulated sixteenth-notes in the manuscript; ms. 30, there is no marking of piu in the manuscript, also the piano dynamic is mf in the piano; ms. 51, the indicated breath mark is Britten’s from the manuscript; ms. 52, the manuscript has a decrescendo rather than a crescendo, and it does not mark the subito in ms. 53; 

Britten Thematic Catalog

© Nicholas Perna and Mandy Spivak 2013