Three Songs sets texts by Carl Sandburg. Crawford scored these songs for mezzo-soprano (or contralto), oboe, percussion, and piano. Optional wind and string ostinati may join.
These three songs were all premiered separately ("Rat Riddles" in 1930 in New York, "In Tall Grass" in 1932 in Berlin, and "Prayers of Steel" in 1933 in Amsterdam). However, the three songs are grouped together in a cohesive cycle, involving a mixture of serialist compositional technique and free composition.
(Source: Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians)