Four Songs from Shakespeare

Title: Four Songs from Shakespeare

Instruments: Soprano, Cello, and Piano

Program Notes:

I have always been a big Shakespeare fan, and so when I was approached about writing for voice, cello, and piano, I picked some of my favorite songs from within his plays. I also decided that I wanted the singer to be playing roughly the same character throughout—a kind of mischievous Puck-like person…a little cynical, occasionally absent-minded, easily distracted by shiny things—even if that meant mildly subverting the original meanings of the text (sorry). The four songs are “Sigh No More” from Much Ado About Nothing, “You Spotted Snakes” from Midsummer Night’s Dream, “Come Unto These Yellow Sands” from The Tempest, and “O Mistress Mine” from Twelfth Night. Throughout these songs, you’ll hear the instruments used in many ways. For example, at the end of the second song, the performers decide their own tempos (and sometimes pitches) as the song breaks apart to signify the onset of sleep. During the third song, the soprano sings into the piano to give her voice an eerie echoing quality.

Written for the Carley DeFranco, Nancy Snider, and Andrew Welch

First Performed: February 2016: Carley DeFranco, Nancy Snider, and Andrew Welch