Geoffrey Hill's latest book of poems, Scenes from Comus, borrows its title from Wood's op. 6, and is dedicated to the composer for his seventieth birthday. The two men have been friends for many years and are exact contemporaries: for the poet's seventieth birthday, Wood wrote a vocal-instrumental setting of Hill's Tenebrae. This interchange between poet and musician highlights Wood's abiding concern with poets and poetry, and particularly English verse of the 20th century. He has described this repertoire as ‘a treasure-house, and our poets continue to produce good lyric poetry to this day: it's a waste of being English not to draw on these riches; and the composer has a particular duty to the poets of his own time’. More recently, Jeremy Thurlow has drawn attention to Wood's ‘idiomatic and refined response to English verse: his songs for voice and piano form a considerable part of his oeuvre and must be considered the most distinctive and substantial contribution to British song-writing since Britten and Tippet’.
http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=TEM The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Tempo, 59 (233), pp 26-37 2005, © 2005 Cambridge University Press.