The last words of famous people, whether real or invented, exert a strange fascination. Breaking with the tradition that a song cycle is a setting of poetry, Timothy Bowers has chosen the last words of fourteen famous (in one case infamous) characters from history and two comic/ironic epitaphs by Byron as his texts. Each collection provides a short (c 7’) concert work with settings ranging from fifteen seconds to five minutes duration.
Book 3 is for baritone and piano. The work explores texts that are, by turns, witty, ironic and uplifting. The subjects are the poet Dylan Thomas, William Pitt the Younger, Oscar Wilde and Broadway impresario Florenz Ziegfeld; and settings of two comic/ironic epitaphs by Byron - one addressed to the much-despised politician Castelreagh, the other, a poignant salute to the poet's dog Boatswain.