Philip Silvey - composer
I Would Be - SSA - Philip Silvey

“For myself alone, I would not be
Ambitious in my wish; but, for you,
I would be trebled twenty times myself;
A thousand times more fair,
Ten thousand times more rich.”

– William Shakespeare, as quoted by Louisa May Alcott

The writings of American author Louisa May Alcott led me to the text for this composition. In her short story Kitty’s Class Day about a seventeen-year-old girl who discovers the difference between superficial flirtation and genuine devotion, Alcott’s protagonist quotes the character Portia from Shakespeare’s A Merchant of Venice. In setting this text, I sought to capture the willful momentum of one who aspires to a greater self in light of another. The accompaniment begins with ascending fifths alternating in lightly rebounding patterns. When the singers reach the title phrase “I would be,” this propelled figure booms with greater depth and resonance. The two phrases “I would not be” (descending) and “I would be” (ascending) occur in contrast to one another.

Duration: 4:30

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Copyright © 2018 Philip E. Silvey