How to Woo a Young Maiden

In honor of the 400th anniversary of his death, Canzona explores a wide variety of contemporary and classical repertoire based on works by William Shakespeare.




How Sweet the Moonlight
Robert Young, Composer
You can take lessons from this: sit on a riverbank in the moonlight, and whisper about the music that comes from the stars!


“The text for this song comes from The Merchant of Venice, Act 5.  Lorenzo, who is wooing Shylock’s lovely young daughter, Jessica, is sitting with her on the bank of a river.  He evokes an idyllic image of harmony emanating from the heavenly bodies.  The lush harmonies in this four-part piece enhance the beauty of Shakespeare’s timeless poetry.”
-Jill Anderson, Artistic Director


(Modern Text)
“How beautiful the moonlight is shining on this bank! Let’s sit here and let the music fill our ears. Look at the stars, see how the floor of heaven is inlaid with small disks of bright gold.  Stars and planets move in such perfect harmony that some believe you can hear music in their movement.  If you believe this, even the smallest star sings like an angel in its motion.”


Ruth Huber and Dominick Argento, Composers

Many composers have taken Shakespeare’s beautiful words and set them to music. The Ensemble will sing one version of Winter and the second will be sung by a soprano soloist.

Each composer effectively sets the scene, contrasting the bitter cold of the season with the comforts found inside during the winter. ” In Huber’s composition, we can hear the wind blow, the parson cough, and see the woodcutter bear logs into the hall while the milk freezes in the pail. And yet inside, Joan keels (skims) the pot, stirring a steaming soup, crabapples hiss in the bowl, and through it all, we hear Tu-whit, tu-whoo passed through each voice part – a staring owl singing a merry note that comes back again and again through the night.” -Cricket Handler, Artistic Director.

“Argento’s rollicking and bombastic piano accompaniment makes Winter sound like a whirling windstorm, combining the owl’s cry with the lowly drone of ‘While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.'” – Jill Anderson, Artistic Director

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