Four Shakespeare Sonnets

Roger Steptoe (1953)

Four Shakespeare Sonnets 2013

baritone and strings
Text Author 

1. Sonnet 147 : My love is as a fever
2. Sonnet 148 : O me! What eyes hath love put in my head
3. Sonnet 12 : When I do count the clock that tells the time (to the memory of Francis Poulenc 1899-1963)
4. Sonnet 113 : Since I left you, mine eye is in my mind

I have been an avid song writer throughout 40-or-so years as a professional composer. I am drawn to the images of fine poetry and have set words for all voices. This is my first venture into the world of a solo voice and string orchestra.

These four Sonnets have been chosen for their unified theme of love – the anguish and cruelties, the charms, immortality and sheer joy. Various themes and harmonic sequences appear and reappear uniting the four testaments of love in their many guises. The fourth Sonnet is of utmost importance structurally with its lush and sensual harmonies and heavily divided strings.

The Welsh premiere will be given by the work’s dedicatee, Jeremy Huw Williams, with the Welsh Chamber Orchestra, conductor Anthony Hose, as part of the 2014 Beaumaris Festival, May 29th. The WCO will perform it again in Dolgellau on November 28th.

The work is published in its two versions (baritone and strings, baritone and piano) by Editions BIM, Switzerland, with whom I enjoy an exclusive arrangement.

Roger Steptoe, Uzerche, December 2013


Version for baritone and piano also available

21.5.14 ArtsHouse, Stratford-upon-Avon: Jeremy Huw Williams/Orchestra of the Swan/David Curtis
29.5.14 Beaumaris Festival: Jeremy Huw Williams/Welsh Chamber Orchestra/Anthony Hose
28.11.14 Dolgellau, Wales: Jeremy Huw Williams/Welsh Chamber Orchestra/Anthony Hose