On 25 September 1936 Benjamin Britten's Our Hunting Fathers, his first adult song cycle, first score for full orchestra and self-confessed ‘real op.l’, had its Norwich première. Its public agenda, both political and social, was set by W.H. Auden's 1930 Poems, and its aggressive technical and moral exhortation desired to épater les ancêetres much as Berg's Wozzeck had sought to do. Its private agenda is, however, of far greater interest. In 1930 it had seemed that the detached, self-conscious Künstlerarzt could take the knife to the social gangrene of the prewar generation and its political prescriptions; by 1936 such detachment yielded neither public nor private satisfaction. Political despair now had three names: German, Jew, and Spain; personal despair derived from the realization that ‘love without love's proper object' led only to love's privation and defeat. The texts Auden assembled for Our Hunting Fathers acted (as many of the choruses in the Auden/Isherwood play The Dog Beneath the Skin had done) as an examen de conscience, both confession and homily, with a Prologue and Epilogue in particular addressed to a composer increasingly aware of an imprisoning emotional isolation.