Two Sonnets

  • Solo Trombone
  • Completed: 15 October 2020; Premiered: 15 October 2020
  • Sheet Music Plus

This is a setting of two sonnets by William Shakespeare for solo trombone. The performer recites the sonnets, while providing musical “commentary” between stanzas. This gives the non-singing trombonist an opportunity to express the beauty of poetry while using the instrument to comment on the verse.

The piece was created as part of the composer's Rooftop Trombone v2.0 series during the second lockdown in Malaysia due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The sonnets deal with aging (#65) and longing (#97), two topics that were often on the mind of the composer during the pandemic.

In Sonnet 65, the poet is contemplating aging and his own mortality. Time decays even rocks and gates of steel - what hope does the poet have to withstand the power? In the last two lines, he wonders if he might survive through his "black ink." The composer wonders the same.

In Sonnet 97, the poet is expressing a longing for an absent lover: "How like a winter hath my absence been from thee..." The composer spent much of the pandemic separated from his beloved. "...thou away, the very birds are mute..."


Don Bowyer
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