romeo and juliet duet

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This is one of my favorite passages of Shakespeare, but The Bard never intended it to be a song.  The text is actually a Sonnet (a 14 line poem in iambic pentameter, for those of you who forget your high school English), spoken by Romeo & Juliet to each other on their initial meeting at the masked ball (1:5:104-117).  Since Shakespeare seemed to enjoy the challenge of making a poem into a dialogue between two people, I enjoyed the challenge of making it into a musical duet. I am especially pleased with the “through composed” nature of this song, which never repeats any previous material but keeps inventing new ideas until its conclusion.  I was joined here once again by my good friend Jennie Emery, who lent her vocals to this arrangement.   I also arranged this song as a choral piece for my students, and it has become a favorite of my school choir.