"This cycle works very hard to be as simple as possible," Hagen writes in the liner notes, but beyond the wide open textures
, very little about these songs is simple for the singer, pianist, or listener.
Especially suited to the poem and its subject matter is the combination of reeds and machines, which suggests the powerful open textures
of a church organ or calliope: an invocation to the collective experience of mystery.
Very much of its Second World War period, the score carries the wide intervals and open textures
of Roy Harris and Aaron Copeland, as well as the anguish of Shostakovich.