Merry Notes (2014)

Performance:  SUNY-New Paltz College-Community Chorale directed by Edward Lundergan; Gary Palmieri, piano

Notes:  This set of pieces is my interpretation of three poems illustrating several of the different moods of Shakespeare.

"Fancy's Knell" is witty and cynical - snappy and rhythmic, it follows the brief history of an infatuation (fancy) that begins and ends with a pretty face: Ding Dong bell! - fancy is dead!

"Winter" is a boisterous portrayal of that frigid time of year - noses run, people cough in church, crabapples roast over the fire, owls hoot, while greasy Joan "keels" the pot - stirring the porridge to cool it down.

"Summer's Day" is based on Shakespeare's most famous sonnet - romantic, witsful, and a little bit full of itself.

Fancy's Knell (from the Merchant of Venice, Act III, Scene II)

Fancy's Knell.mp3 


Tell me where is fancy bred
In the heart, or in the head?
How begot, how nourished?
Reply, reply, reply.


It is engendered in the eyes,

With gazing fed:

And fancy dies

In the cradle where it lies, Fancy dies!


Let us all ring fancy's knell.

I'll begin it, Ding Dong Bell!

Ding Dong Bell!


(from Love's Labour's Lost, Act V, Scene II)

Winter.mp3  2:22


When icicles hang by the wall,

And Dick the shepherd blows his nail

And Tom bears logs into the hall

And milk comes frozen home in pail

When blood is nipp'd and ways be foul,

Then nightly sings the staring owl,


Tu-who, a merry note,

While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.


When all aloud the wind doth blow,

And coughing drowns the parson's saw,

And birds sit brooding in the snow,

And Marion's nose looks red and raw,

When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,

Then nightly sings the staring owl,


Tu-who, a merry note,

While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.


Summer's Day (Sonnet XVIII)

Summer.mp3  4:34


Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Thou are more lovely and more temperate.

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer's lease hath all too short a date.

Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;

And every fair from fair sometimes declines,

By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest,

Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou growest;

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.


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