In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire
That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,
As the death-bed whereon it must expire
Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by
William Shakespeare Sonnet 73
Unsung Serenade for chamber orchestra has been inspired by Shakespeare’s sonnet 73. The melodic motto of this work appears in two earlier musical settings of the sonnet, for voice and piano (in Hebrew, and in the original English).
The irony of sonnet 73, is in that the flame, which nourishes the passion, is also the one that ultimately consumes it. It is the unfulfilled potential, which makes “love more strong.”
Further, it is the perception of the elements that are fading — yellow leaves, ruined choirs, the sunset and a dying flame, which has the power to bring about a greater love.
The piece, therefore, begins with restraint, and slowly accumulates tension, with elements of the “serenade” melody released gradually. However, even in the ultimate, lyric portion of the piece full “satisfaction” is never achieved.
2 fl, 2 ob (ob 2/engl. hrn), 2 cl (Bs cl), 3 hns, 2 trmp, 2 trmb, t-ba, harp, p-no (cel), perc, str.
May 21, 2010
Miller Theater, Columbia University
Underwood New Music Readings
American Composers Orchestra, George Manahan - conductor
Inspired by Shakespeare's Sonnet 73
Dedicated to T.C.
Mr. Kovler’s “Unsung Serenade,” in which a gloom akin to Ravel’s pregnant murk in “La Valse” gave birth to brighter sonorities, had an emotive potency that suggested, of all things, a potentially estimable operatic composer in the making.
Steve Smith The New York Times
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