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Published on Aug 19, 2008
Lento e largo—Tranquillissimo
(only the second part of the 3st movement)
The tempo of the third movement is not as slow as the previous two, and subtle changes in dynamism and mode make it more complex and involving than it may at first appear. It comprises three verses in A minor and, like the first movement, is constructed from evolving variations on a simple motif. The melody is established in the opening verse, and the second and third verses revisit the cradling motifs of the second movement. As in the second movement, the motifs are built up from inversions of plain triads and seventh chords stretching across several octaves. As the soprano sings the final words, the key changes to a pure diatonic A major which accompanies, in writer David Ellis's words, the "ecstatic final stanza":
O sing for him / God's little song-birds / Since his mother cannot find him. And you, God's little flowers / May you blossom all around / that my son may a sleep happy sleep.