I began composing this piece on October 4, 2014, the thirteenth anniversary of my mother’s transition from this earthly life to that realm of life that is beyond our understanding. It was a typical fall day in the Pacific Northwest; a little drizzle, mostly grey, with an occasional short-lived sun-break. While this text is not one that I would ascribe to my mother except, maybe, in one way; the reference to an evergreen. Interestingly, I live in Washington, the Evergreen State, and as I sat at my kitchen counter working on the piece I noted that the one color that constantly contrasts the grey skies here are evergreen trees. Perhaps there is some symbolism. The tone of this piece is indicative of the way I felt on that day. There are very few days where I feel reminisce about my mother and feel sad because she would prefer to be remembered with happiness over sorrow, but on this day, I took the opportunity to touch on the feelings of loss that were present.
In addition to inventing thousands of words, William Shakespeare, regarded as the foremost dramatist of his time, wrote more than thirty plays and more than one hundred sonnets, all written in the form of three quatrains and a couplet that is now recognized as Shakespearean. In his play, As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII, we witness Duke Senior requests entertainment from Amiens, a musician and servant, and good friend. Duke Senior had been removed from his throne by his brother and escaped to the forests of France along with some loyal followers. Rather than something lighthearted and frivolous, Amiens sings a song claiming that cruelties of a faithless friend can be more damaging than the cold, biting winter wind.
The tone of the refrain is in direct contrast to the darkness of the remainder of this poem.
Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind
Text: Shakespeare's As You Like It
for SATB & Piano
Click on score to view.