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Unsung Serenade

for chamber orchestra

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In me thou see’st the glowing of such fire

That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,

As the death-bed whereon it must expire

Consumed with that which it was nourish’d by

William Shakespeare Sonnet 73


Unsung Serenade for chamber orchestra has been inspired by Shakespeare’s sonnet 73. The melodic motto of this work appears in two earlier musical settings of the sonnet, for voice and piano (in Hebrew, and in the original English).

The irony of sonnet 73, is in that the flame, which nourishes the passion, is also the one that ultimately consumes it. It is the unfulfilled potential, which makes “love more strong.”


Further, it is the perception of the elements that are fading — yellow leaves, ruined choirs, the sunset and a dying flame, which has the power to bring about a greater love.

The piece, therefore, begins with restraint, and slowly accumulates tension, with elements of the “serenade” melody released gradually. However, even in the ultimate, lyric portion of the piece full “satisfaction” is never achieved.

Mátti Kovler​





2 fl, 2 ob (ob 2/engl. hrn), 2 cl (Bs cl), 3 hns, 2 trmp, 2 trmb, t-ba, harp, p-no (cel), perc, str.

May 21, 2010


Miller Theater, Columbia University

Underwood New Music Readings

American Composers Orchestra, George Manahan - conductor

Inspired by  Shakespeare's Sonnet 73

Dedicated to T.C.


Mr. Kovler’s “Unsung Serenade,” in which a gloom akin to Ravel’s pregnant murk in “La Valse” gave birth to brighter sonorities, had an emotive potency that suggested, of all things, a potentially estimable operatic composer in the making.

Steve Smith The New York Times

Nineveh | Jordan Hall

NEC Sinfonietta, John Page

8:21 min, excerpt




Аманда Купер, ALC Management  


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