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Westron wind, when will thou blow?
The small rain down can rain.
Christ, that my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again!

 

Anonymous Middle English lyric at the heart of Stravinsky's sixth movement in his Cantata, sung as a duet between the soprano and tenor with accompaniment by an instrumental quintet. (More specifically, soprano and tenor soli, two flutes, oboe, English horn, violoncello, in three flat key signature.)

This duet is the only secular piece in Cantata, which has an otherwise Christocentric theme.

Stravinsky wrote Cantata after receiving a copy of Poets of the English Language, edited by W. H. Auden in 1951. Stravinsky took four of the six 15th and 16th century anonymous lyrics printed in this book as the the lyrical heart of Cantata.

The purity and the passion of the lyric resonates across the ages - even for Stravinsky, who wrote "I selected...verses which attracted me not only for their compelling syllabification, but for their construction which suggested musical construction."

Cantata was first performed in 1952.

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