The title is misnomeric as a fourth book of songs was made.
Thirty-One Songs for Voice & Piano.
Settings of poems by Hilaire Belloc, Robert Burns, Robert Herrick, Alfred Edward Housman and others.
John Jeffreys (1927-2010), Extract from Obituary in The Guardian:
John Jeffreys....was a multi-talented song composer whose sensitive, gentle settings of English poetry have recently found favour with distinguished singers including Ian Partridge, James Gilchrist and Jonathan Veira. The musical climate in the 1970s was not sympathetic to a composer of such traditional bent, and, disheartened, Jeffreys destroyed much of his work. However, in 1983 he chanced upon four reels of tape recordings made in 1966, and reconstructed most of the songs on them.
The publisher Kenneth Roberton championed his cause and published three substantial volumes, with piano accompaniment, in facsimiles of the composer's beautifully and precisely calligraphed manuscripts, with cover illustrations by the composer. In the songs, there is a perfect fusion between the text and the refined, subtle accompaniment. Virtuosity is eschewed in favour of expression and diction. Although many of the early songs were originally composed with string quartet, they were mainly recomposed with piano. There are others with bassoon and recorder as the accompanying instrument.
Contents (Poet in Brackets):