Sweet Love Remember'd

Sweet Love Remember'd

Posted by Lane Johnson on 10th Apr 2013

Sweet Love Remember'd

After two great experiences with Mine Arm is Lengthened Out and Snowflakes in 2002 and 2003, in June of 2004, BYU Singers director, Dr. Staheli, sent me an email asking me if I had ever thought of setting Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29 to music. I thought to myself, “I have now!” 

He said that he had a plan that he wasn’t going to tell me about quite yet, but that it would be exciting. Well, that really got me going. My first task was to remind myself what a Sonnet was! I was sure I must have learned about sonnets in high school, but I couldn't remember much about them. So, I studied up on the form and read the poem several times before I really started to get it. Once I had that figured out, I sat down one night and got most of the piece written. It took a few more nights that week to get it to a near final draft state. A week after Dr. Staheli asked me to write the piece, I had it ready for him to hear and we arranged a meeting. 

He loved it and said it was perfect for what he needed. Then he explained to me that he was planning to do a set of three sonnets as part of his program that he would take to the ACDA National Convention in Los Angeles in February of 2005. He also explained that he wanted to get it published so that the music was available for purchase at the convention. I can't tell you how excited I was with the whole thing. I was VERY grateful for what he was doing to help get some more exposure to my music.

Dr. Staheli and I worked for a few months to try to find a suitable publisher. Finally in the fall of 2004, I got an email from Gunilla Luboff of Walton Music saying that they would publish Sweet Love Remember’d and have it ready for the ACDA convention, which they did. My wife and I were able to attend the ACDA National Convention to hear the performances. It was a great thrill for both of us. Sweet Love Remember’d would be the first of several pieces to be published by Walton Music over the next few years.

Here is an excerpt of a performance by the BYU Singers:

Sonnet XXIV, by William Shakespeare

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
   For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
   That then I scorn to change my state with kings.