Samuel, Rhian: Opposites
1. Age and Youth (words by William Shakespeare)
2. Sun and Shadow (words by Thomas Campion)
For amateur SATB chorus with divisions, Opposites by Rhian Samuel pairs a well-known poem by Shakespeare with a less familiar one by his contemporary, the lute-song composer Thomas Campion.
In Shakespeare’s much anthologised ‘Crabbed Age and Youth’ the decay of the former and vigour of the latter inspire contrasts of texture, register and dynamics to make a simple yet effective form culminating in the defiant tutti of ‘Age, I do defy thee!’
A meditation on the fruitless pursuit of passion, Campion’s ‘Follow thy fair sun, unhappy shadow’ alternates a lilting refrain with dueting soprano and alto, and tenor and bass.
Lasting around ten minutes, the two items would make an attractive and complementary element in any programme that explored the richness of English verse in choral song, whether in classical, romantic or contemporary repertoire.