My musical setting for Milton's poem Sabrina Fair for soprano, flute, and piano.
The poem is one of the most luscious ever written in any language. Milton must have had trouble being a Puritan; fortunately, sometimes he failed.
The dissonances in measures 13-14 are deliberate in an attempt to suggest the strangeness of an underwater grotto, but maybe they just sound off key?
This would sound more atmospheric with harp, but I scored it for piano because 1) I don't feel yet I know enough about harp to score for it and 2) it might be more likely to get performed with piano than with harp. I'm continuing to study books and web sites on harp composition, and if I ever feel confident enough to try it, I'll make a version with harp. Comments from harpists on this possibility would be most welcome.
As always, I'll be glad to receive any comments on this composition, especially from performers, even if a long time has passed since I posted it.
The sound file was generated with software using synth choral ah voices as a demo, even though the vocal is supposed to be solo.
Simultaneous sound file and score available at:
Sabrina Fair by Jon Corelis on YouTube
listen where thou art sitting,
under the glassy, cool, translucent wave,
in twisted braids of lilies knitting
the loose train of thy amber dropping hair;
listen for dear honor's sake,
goddess of the silver lake:
listen and save.
Please note that while this composition is based on a poem in the public domain, my musical setting of it is an original creative work under copyright. You may feel free to share or link to it by the usual means. For performance permission, please see my permissions page.
Image:An illustration from a 1922 edition John Milton's Comus, illustrated by Arthur Rackham.