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A lover's journey

premiered in 2001

A lover’s journey is a set of four pieces which chronicle the extraordinarily commonplace yet supremely elegant story of love and valentining. They are settings of three texts by William Shakespeare and one text by James Joyce, published by William Shakespeare and company in 1915. When the concert date for the premiere of our new piece was set for February the 14th, I began to search for appropriate texts and remembered Ophelia’s song from Hamlet ‘Good morrow! ’Tis St. Valentine’s Day.’ In reading about the texts’ origins I came upon a curious custom practiced in some parts of Great Britain and Italy, whereby before sunrise on St. Valentine’s Day, unmarried women stand by their window, sometimes for hours, watching for a man to pass by. It’s said that the first man they see (or more wisely someone who looks like him) will marry them within a year.

I decided to play with the theme in A lover’s journey. I created four pieces beginning with the poem ‘Simples’ by James Joyce. Set in a moonlit garden, the lover is bedazzled by a young woman, his “bella bionda.” The lover repeats these words to himself over and over again, silently summoning her. The second, quiet piece Good morrow! ’Tis Saint Valentine’s Day takes place at sunrise. In it the lovers meet and undo each other. The third piece is a brief, insistent rhythmic outcry, setting words from The Taming of the Shrew ‘Will you, nill you, I will marry you.’ And finally, Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day completes the lover’s Journey.

from notes by Libby Larsen © 2001


Romance du Soir
SIGCD147Download only


No 1: In the still garden  O bella bionda
Track 14 on SIGCD147 [2'52] Download only
No 2: St Valentine's day  Good morning, it’s St. Valentine's Day
Track 15 on SIGCD147 [4'27] Download only
No 3: Will you, nill you
Track 16 on SIGCD147 [1'02] Download only
No 4: Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Track 17 on SIGCD147 [2'57] Download only

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