Choral ~ General ~ A Cappella
“Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?”
(An original setting of the Shakespeare sonnet)
SCORING: SATB a cappella (frequent divisi)
DURATION: ca. 2:15 — DIFFICULTY: 3/5 — PAGES IN PDF SCORE: 10
HOW TO PLACE AN ORDER — PDF: $45 (for all the copies you need)
♦ This is song #1 in “Three Shakespeare Songs for Choir a Cappella.”
♦ You can perform this piece individually, or as part of the complete set.
♦ If you purchase the complete set, the PDF price is $65, saving you $70!
For this famous sonnet by Shakespeare, I sought to create a very melodic and expressive setting. There certainly is passion in the text, but there is also a pervading tenderness throughout, and my music seeks to fuse these two elements together in musical terms.
Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?
Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare
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. [see note 1]
Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines, [see note 2]
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometimes declines, [see note 3]
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed. [see note 4]
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st, [see note 5]
Nor Death shall brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st. [see note 6]
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee! [see note 7]
Note 1: “lease” = allotted time
Note 2: “eye of heaven” = the sun
Note 3: "fair from fair" = beautiful thing from beauty
Note 4: “untrimmed” = stripped of beauty
Note 5: “that fair thou ow’st” = that beauty you own
Note 6: “lines” = lines of poetry
Note 7: “this” = this sonnet