The understated opening of this a cappella work uses whistling and blowing vocal sounds to imitate a gradually building storm. The storm unfolds with a highly rhythmic verse that contrasts with the triple-meter refrain set in a rich, yet accessible, harmonic palette. The tambourine adds rhythmic continuity throughout the verses.

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Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind

Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
   Thou art not so unkind
      As man’s ingratitude;
   Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
      Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
   Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
      This life is most jolly.
   Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
   That dost not bite so nigh
      As benefits forgot:
   Though thou the waters warp,
      Thy sting is not so sharp
      As friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly…