The Eve of St. Agnes

Dramatic Fantasy for 2 Sopranos,Tenor and Baritone Soloists, Mixed Chorus and Orchestra

William Mayer

Duration: 00:14:00
Publisher: Theodore Presser Company
Print Status: Rental

Quick Overview

The setting is a castle in medieval times. The action takes place on St. Agnes? Eve, which falls during the coldest time of winter.

As legend has it, a young girl will dream of her future husband on this magical eve if she says special prayers and goes to bed without eating.

Of the Eve of St. Agnes that John Keats writes about, Madeline has duly gone through the necessary ritual and lies in a deep sleep in her chamber. Outside, one hears Ave Marias reflecting the spiritual side of the evening. Inside, one occasionally hears the shouts of a drunken party.

Young Porphyro, who is enamoured of Madeline, enters the castle risking his life if discovered. He sneaks upstairs to her room, prepares a feast for the sleeping Madeline. Her sleep is so deep he fails to awaken her. ?Into her dream he melted,? writes Keats, but upon singing with a lute into her ear, he finally does arouse her. They embrace and realize as St. Agnes? moon sets, they must flee before the sleeping guests and guards awake. The wind in the stone corridors whirrs and roars, which helps hide their escape.

The music, which is a mosaic, reflects the three main strands of the poem: a) spiritual love b) passionate love c) fear of being discovered. And always there is a sensation of cold, surrounding the lovers, as on an island of warmth.

Scores & Parts

Eve Of St. Agnes - Full Score - Study

Additional Information

Composition Date 1969
Orchestration 2 2 2 2 - 2 2 2 0; Timp. 3Perc. Pno. Hp. Str.

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