Setting for Sonnet 75
for tenor and piano
Difficulty: hard | Duration: 4 ⅓ minutes
performed by Jesse Melson and Jeremy Duck
Setting for Sonnet 75 was my second assignment during my study with Dr. BJ Brooks, who believed that writing for voice would help me mature as a composer. I first started searching for text to put music to, for the condition of the assignment was to use the text to determine all elements of my musical vocabulary. I remembered studying Edmund Spenser in English Literature in high school; I also remembered the distinct fluidity of his verse and thought that one of his sonnets would be perfect for this assignment. As the title implies, the piece derives its inspiration completely from Edmund Spenser’s 75th sonnet of Amoretti.
Sonnet 75- from Amoretti
One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.
Vain man, said she, that doest in vain assay
A mortal thing so to immortalize,
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eek my name be wiped out likewise.
Not so (quoth I), let baser things devise
To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse your virtues rare shall eternize,
And in the heavens write your glorious name.
Where whenas Death shall all the world subdue,
Out love shall live, and later life renew.