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Rorem, Ned: How Like a Winter (2013) 10'
for mezzo-soprano, double bass, and piano. Based on text by Shakespeare


This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

World Premiere

Concertgebouw, Amsterdam
Christianne Stotijn, mezzo-soprano / Joseph Breinl, piano / Rick Stotijn, double-bass

Composer's Notes

"How like a winter hath my absence been
From thee…"
-Shakespeare, Sonnet 97

Nothing can be said about music that the music itself can’t say better, except how it came to be written. Indeed, How Like A Winter was co-commissioned by the Eduard van Beinum Foundation and dedicated to the three performers: Christianne Stotijn, Joseph Breinl, and Rick Stotijn. Their three instruments- the human voice, double bass, and piano- seem invented to convey the verse of Shakespeare, the greatest poet of the English language.

The text is three interconnected Sonnets, 97, 98 and 99, which express loss and separation using the theme of the seasons. Without love, it is always a cold, dark winter. The flowers of spring, the pleasures of summer and "teeming autumn" come and go but it feels like winter because of the absence of the one who is loved. A sense of nostalgia- of presence and absence—is conveyed.

"Yet seemed it winter still, and you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play."
-Shakespeare, Sonnet 98

—Ned Rorem

Reproduction Rights:
This program note may be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with a credit to the composer.

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