It was only relatively recently that I started reading Christina Rosetti's
poetry. Having concentrated on setting a small group of poets that appealed
to me, I was concerned to try pastures new for further song cycle. Also,
having had copyright difficulties with a recent choral piece, I was anxious
to choose texts that were out of copyright. A number of extended sessions
browsing in Waterstones led to my considering setting Elizabeth
Barrett-Browning and Christina Rosetti.
On first reading, all of Christina Rosetti's the poems that I selected for setting were of a similar melancholy cast (like the first song in the cycle). But further exploration let me to realise that I could create a sequence of poems in which the gloomy anticipation of death gradually prefigures joyful anticipation of the life to come is paralleled by winter's gradual prefiguring of a future spring. Thus, though the cycle has a predominantly melancholy tone, it progresses towards the final joyful conclusion.