1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3

Text: William Shakespeare (1564-1616) 
Language: English 
Ensemble: SATB (div.) 
Accompaniment: A cappella 
Duration: 7-8 minutes 
Page Count: 32 
Catalog Number: HL 50486217, (ISBN: 142341053X ,UPC: 884088063009).

Available from G. Schirmer

Sample Score

Shakespeare Suite was premiered in the spring of 1996 by the New York Virtuoso Singers in Merkin Concert Hall, New York City. The three Shakespeare poems which I chose for this trilogy all reflect youth, love and springtime. The music is meant to evoke the amorous thoughts and feelings of young lovers in Shakespeare's England. 

It Was A Lover and His Lass is a musical picture of a pair of happy young lovers meandering through the lush green countryside and enjoying the warmth of a spring day. It is obvious that these two are a part of the total flowering of spring. 

Oh Mistress Mine is a tender appeal by the young lover imploring his beloved to stop roaming and come to him. He employs various arguments to convince her that love should happen now and not later. His ardent desire is reflected in the music. However, at the end of the piece his love remains unrequited. 

In Daffodils there is so much youthful energy that it almost gets out of control. The key word here is "tumbling." The whole piece goes in spurts and stops, with duddlilly dum dum's and oo's containing little naughty thoughts here and there which one can't say in words. All the chaos seems to come under control for awhile until the pent up energy bursts forth in "tumbling, tumbling, tumbling" and gleefully ends "as we go tumbling in the hay." 

The Suite has proved to be very popular with high school choirs and been award winning, Oh Mistress Mine placing first in the 1997 Ithaca College Choral Composition Competition, and the Suite being awarded First Prize in the 2003 Athena Festival for Women in Music. It is published as part of the Harold Rosenbaum Schirmer Choral Series. Two movements are included in the Novello Shakespeare Choral Collection.


1. It Was a Lover and His Lass 
It was a lover and his lass, 
With a hey and a ho, and a hey nonino! 
That o'er the green cornfield did pass 
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time, 
When birds do sing hey ding a ding: 
Sweet lovers love the Spring. 

Between the acres of the rye 
These pretty country folks would lie: 
This carol they began that hour, 
How that life was but a flower: 

And therefore take the present time 
With a hey and a ho, and a hey nonino! 
For love is crownèd with the prime 
In spring time, the only pretty ring time, 
When birds do sing hey ding a ding: 
Sweet lovers love the Spring. 
(As You Like It 5.3.15-20) 

2. Oh Mistress Mine 
O Mistress mine, where are you roaming? 
O, stay and hear; your true love's coming, 
That can sing both high and low: 
Trip no further, pretty sweeting; 
Journeys end in lovers meeting, 
Every wise man's son doth know. 
What is love? 'Tis not hereafter; 
Present mirth hath present laughter; 
What's to come is still unsure: 
In delay there lies not plenty; 
Then, come kiss me, sweet and twenty, 
Youth's a stuff will not endure. 
(Twelfth Night) 

3. Daffodils 
When daffodils begin to peer, 
With heigh! the doxy, over the dale, 
Why, then comes in the sweet o’ the year; 
For the red blood reigns in the winter’s pale. 

The white sheet bleaching on the hedge, 
With heigh! the sweet birds, O, how they sing! 
Doth set my pugging tooth on edge; 
For a quart of ale is a dish for a king. 
(Winter's Tale 4.2.1-8)