Completed in 1984, Man Who Has Come Through is a cycle of four songs based on poems by D.H Lawrence, scored for high voice, flute, oboe, cello and piano. The cycle complements Burgess’s other work on Lawrence, including a television documentary The Rage Of D.H. Lawrence and a book-length study Flame Into Being (1985).
It is a substantial work of 35 minutes duration, and was premiered in Nottingham in 1985 to mark Lawrence’s centenary. The poems that Burgess chooses are ‘End of Another Home Holiday’, presented here with restless chromatics; ‘Song of a Man Who Has Come Through’, an optimistic ballad given a vigorous tempo; ‘Snake’, rendered perhaps mimetically in a long and meandering setting; and ‘Bavarian Gentians’, which disappears into nothingness just as Persephone disappears into the underworld in the text. The settings are framed by an optional instrumental ‘Prelude and/or Postlude’.