Duration – 15:30
Love’s Labour for Mezzo Soprano, Tenor, Clarinet and String Quartet (2003)
(Text by William Shakespeare)
Love’s Labour was written for the Talisker Players Chamber Music concert titled Canti Amori. After lively discussions with Talisker Players Mary McGeer and English Literature enthusiast Judith Mills, I decided to compose music set to some of William Shakespeare’s writing on love. Love’s Labour is built around a mini-operatic setting (the 3rd Movement) of a scene from The Taming of the Shrew (Act 2, Scene 1) in which Katharina and Petruchio first meet. This scene is surrounded by songs with provide introduction, comment and resolution for this scene. The music is based on the tension and contrast of its various elements: the age-old battle of the sexes; the playful wit of the language versus the intense psychological maneuvering of the characters; and the contemporary resonance of the texts set off against the sound of Elizabethan English. Musically, I have tried to underscore these elements by incorporating and contrasting a variety of stylistic and musical techniques including those from the Renaissance, the Romantic period, Impressionism and the present. An example is found in the 3rd movement scene where the music begins in a neo-Renaissance vein while a variety of more modern compositional techniques slip in and contrast with this material. To accompany the singers, I scored for clarinet and string quartet, an ensemble which is suited to enhancing the various theatrical, stylistic, and emotional elements of both the music and the test.
Commissioning, and First Performance:
Love’s Labour is dedicated to and was commissioned by the Talisker Players and was made possible by a generous grant from the Laidlaw Foundation. The first performance took place on June 3, 2003 at Trinity St. Paul’s Centre, Toronto by Patricia O’Callaghan, mezzo-soprano, Colin Ainsworth, tenor and the Talisker Players (Valerie Sylvester and Rona Goldensher, violins, Mary McGeer, viola, Mary Katherine Finch, cello and Peter Stoll, clarinet). It was recorded for broadcast on CBC radio 2.