Jonas Müthing Baetge

Six Sonnets by William Shakespeare

for mixed choir

80,00 kr800,00 kr

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I had been interested in writing some pieces for choir based on William Shakespeare's sonnets for quite some time. The from our modern point of view somewhat complicated language fascinates me and especially the many images that Shakespeare creates are an invitation for lyrical musical interpretations.

Like as the Waves Make T’wards the Pebbled Shore – Sonnet 60

Ett enkelt motiv som imiterar små vågors skvalpande ljud när de rullar mot stranden, en efter en, utan att någonsin sluta, dominerar detta stycke. Symbolen för tidens oundviklighet bryts av av andra motiv, bara för att komma tillbaka om och om igen. Men kanske kan kärlekens kraft överkomma tiden till slut?

How oft, When Thou, my Music, Music Play’st – Sonnet 128

To translate this musical sonnet into a dance from Shakespeare's own time felt like a matter of course. But when lustful fantasy takes over the music gets distorted, it becomes blurred and confused. Religious transfiguration and earthly desire are suddenly very close to each other.

My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun – Sonnet 130

This sonnet could be called for a rollercoaster of emotions nowadays. Transfiguration and anger alternate in an ever faster succession.

Then Hate me When Thou Wilt – Sonnet 90

Another storm of feelings can be found in this piece. Furious anger is replaced by deep sorrow and finally despair. Why are you so cold towards me?

Th’Expense of Spirit in a Waste of Shame – Sonnet 129

There is no love in this love poem, only lust. And thus even the music is without emotion: Small rythmical motifs are repeated mechanically over and over, interrupted only by violent eruptions. And in the end there is only sore emptiness.

Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day? – Sonnet 18

Maybe the most famous of Shakespeare's sonnets, this poem may be the defintive opposite of the latter. It is a deep and genuine decleration of love, composed into embracing melodies that are weaved through the choir, warm harmony and a light, dancing rhythm.

Projektkör i samband med magisterutbildningen körledning på Högskolan för scen och musik i Göteborg, 20 oktober 2020 under ledning av tonsättaren.

Sonnet 60

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown'd,
Crooked eclipses 'gainst his glory fight,
And Time, that gave, doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth,
And delves the parallels in beauty's brow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow.
And yet to times in hope my verse shall stand,
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.

Sonnet 128

How oft, when thou, my music, music play'st,
Upon that blessed wood whose motion sounds
With thy sweet fingers, when thou gently sway'st
The wiry concord that mine ear confounds,
Do I envy those jacks that nimble leap
To kiss the tender inward of thy hand,
Whilst my poor lips, which should that harvest reap,
At the wood's boldness by thee blushing stand!
To be so tickled, they would change their state
And situation with those dancing chips,
O'er whom thy fingers walk with gentle gait,
Making dead wood more blest than living lips.
Since saucy jacks so happy are in this,
Give them thy fingers, me thy lips to kiss.

Sonnet 130

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

Sonnet 90

Then hate me when thou wilt; if ever, now;
Now, while the world is bent my deeds to cross,
Join with the spite of fortune, make me bow,
And do not drop in for an after-loss:
Ah, do not, when my heart hath 'scoped this sorrow,
Come in the rearward of a conquer'd woe;
Give not a windy night a rainy morrow,
To linger out a purposed overthrow.
If thou wilt leave me, do not leave me last,
When other petty griefs have done their spite
But in the onset come; so shall I taste
At first the very worst of fortune's might,
And other strains of woe, which now seem woe,
Compared with loss of thee will not seem so.

Sonnet 129

The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action; and till action, lust
Is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoy'd no sooner but despised straight,
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had
Past reason hated, as a swallow'd bait
On purpose laid to make the taker mad;
Mad in pursuit and in possession so;
Had, having, and in quest to have, extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind, a dream.
All this the world well knows; yet none knows well
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.

Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st;
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.