- Sonnets (7) of Michelangelo, for voice & piano, Op. 22
- Winter Words, song cycle for tenor & piano, Op. 52
- On this Island, song cycle for voice & piano, Op. 11: I. Let the florid music praise!
- Who are these Children?, song cycle for tenor & piano, Op. 84
- Tit for Tat, song cycle for voice & piano
- Sweeter than roses (from "Pausanius"), song, Z. 585/1
- When the cock begins to crow, song for 2 sopranos and bass, ZD172
Anyone who has always wanted to hear Benjamin Britten's realization of Purcell's "When the cock begins to crow" for counter-tenor and baritone, his "Let the florid music praise!," "Who are these children" for tenor and piano settings, as well as his "Tit for Tat" for baritone and piano, but who was born too late for the LP era, will have to pick up this disc. Why? Because this disc is these four works' first release on CD and anyone below a certain age who loves Britten's songs will have to get it to hear them. Indeed, anyone who loves Britten songs will have to pick up this disc anyway since it contains several of his best works in the genre performed in most cases by the dedicatee with the composer as the accompanist. Each song cycle creates its own distinct world -- "Seven Michelangelo Sonnets" of anguish and ecstasy, "Winter Words" of innocence and experience, "Let the florid music praise!" of energy and virtuosity, "Who are these children" of prejudice and cruelty, and "Tit for Tat" of painful subjects treated in a lighthearted way -- while all still being products of Britten's own highly individualistic style. While Peter Pears' unlovely voice and hypersensitive interpretations in the first four cycles may take some getting used to for those who don't already know his work, those who already know and love Britten already know and love Pears for the simple reason that most of Britten's music for tenor was written for Pears. The set of baritone songs is performed here by the doughty and dependable John Shirley-Quirk while the counter-tenor for the two Purcell realizations is the lean but wiry James Bowman. Although originally released in 1956 and 1973, these Decca recordings sound warm and deep in their 2006 digital remasterings.