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Kavafy Songs

Peter Tranchell’s settings of two poems by the Greek poet, Constantine P. Cavafy (though Peter spells his name with a K) were composed in the late Summer of 1956.

Peter Marchbank described the songs as 'a work of a very personal, almost private, nature'. He continued:

They are united by a sense of memory and loss; in particular, the loss of a lover. The music is richly chromatic and almost melancholic, with the piano writing, especially in Voices, being demanding and virtuosic while, in Grey, the textures are much sparer. In fact, there are passages where the impression is given of a single line supporting the voice. There is nothing in Peter’s writings to suggest why he should have been drawn to the poems, nor that the songs were ever performed. Certainly, the final copy, in ink, has no pencil markings to indicate that it had ever been used. Yet, the two songs have a poignancy that merits a hearing.

Although described as being for tenor and piano, the vocal range extends from G2 to G4, making the songs more suitable for a baritone. We have published transposed editions that may be more suitable for a range of men's voices.

Open bars of 'Grey', a poem by C.P. Cavafy set to music by Peter Tranchell
Open bars of 'Grey', a poem by C.P. Cavafy set to music by Peter Tranchell

We have published the songs in their original keys, plus a pair better suited to a Tenor (C3 to G4), and a pair more suited to a baritone (G2 to F4).


Original key

'Voices' score in original key

'Grey' score in original key

For Tenor

'Voices' score in original key 

'Grey' score transposed up perfect 4th

For Baritone

'Voices' score transposed down major 2nd

'Grey' score in original key

Please refer to our guidance on the use of scores published by The Peter Tranchell Foundation.