song-cycle

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song-cycle (Ger. Liederkreis). Set of songs grouped into an artistic unity by the composer in a particular order and referring to a particular theme—love, death, jealousy, nature, etc.—or telling a story, or both. Examples are Beethoven's An die ferne Geliebte, Schubert's Winterreise, Schumann's Frauenliebe und -Leben, Mahler's Kindertotenlieder, Berlioz's Les Nuits d'Été, Elgar's Sea Pictures, Vaughan Williams's On Wenlock Edge, Britten's Nocturne, etc. Some of the above are with pf. acc., some with chamber ens., and some with orch. Coprario's Funeral Teares (1606) is one of the earliest, if not the earliest, of song-cycles.