Peter Bloesch Listen

Choral ~ General ~ A Cappella



“Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?”

(An original setting of the Shakespeare sonnet)



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NOTES:
♦  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.
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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

You can read a helpful analysis of the sonnet here.

Complete text:

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

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