In the spring
by Giovanni Grosskopf
In the spring is a setting of sonnet 98 by Shakespeare, and is one of our three winning compositions of the project. A song for soprano and theorbo, it is contemplative, detailed and varied, with a prelude and postlude for theorbo alone.
The experience of absence lies at the heart of the song: the object of love is far away, so, though nature is happy, the poet cannot feel joy and everything becomes a sign of this absence. The theorbo is deep, resonant, with reminiscences of Renaissance stylistic features and fascinating harmonies, which create the atmospheres and guide an effective, coherent vocal line.
Giovanni studied piano, composition and computer music at the State Conservatorium “G. Verdi” in Milan, Italy. His works have been performed in Italy and across Europe, and broadcast in Italy, Vatican, Argentina. As a pianist he has been performing solos and in chamber music since 1985. He teaches “Harmony and Music Analysis” ,and also Ethnomusicology, at Milan's Conservatorium and has a scientific activity as a scholar in folklore studies.
In the spring
From you have I been absent in the spring,
When proud pied April dress’d in all his trim
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing,
That heavy Saturn laugh’d and leap’d with him.
Yet nor the lays of birds nor the sweet smell
Of different flowers in odour and in hue
Could make me any summer’s story tell,
Or from their proud lap pluck them where they grew;
Nor did I wonder at the lily’s white,
Nor praise the deep vermilion in the rose;
They were but sweet, but figures of delight,
Drawn after you, you pattern of all those.
Yet seem’d it winter still, and, you away,
As with your shadow I with these did play.
(William Shakespeare, Sonnet 98)