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Composed: 1936

About this Piece

Songs of the Season is a cycle of four art songs all based on Langston Hughes poems evoking the seasons. The cycle was compiled in 1955 for tenor Lawrence Wilson, and “Winter Moon” was written originally in 1936. In the poem of the same name, Hughes shows his incredible ability to paint a world of feelings in only a few evocative words. In setting the poem in a similarly economical minute-plus of music, Bonds’ use of a minor key, sparse accompaniment, and limited melodic movement captures the stillness of Hughes’ words, concluding with the singer’s final words suspended and hanging alone like the moon itself.

“Winter Moon”

by Langston Hughes (1923)

How thin and sharp is the moon tonight!

How thin and sharp and ghostly white

Is the slim curved crook of the moon tonight!