Steven R. Gerber
Steven Gerber's most recent composition, a 16-minute orchestral work entitled "Music in Dark Times," was written at the request of Vladimir Ashkenazy, who will conduct the four world premiere performances with the San Francisco Symphony in March, 2009. Other recent works of Gerber's include String Quartets # 4 and 5 for, respectively, the Fine Arts and Amernet String Quartets; a Viola Concerto for Yuri Bashmet, a Cello Concerto for Carter Brey, a Violin Concerto for Kurt Nikkanen, and a Clarinet Concerto for Jon Manasse; and two symphonies, the second for Daniel Boico, which have received numerous performances in the United States, Russia, Ukraine, and Romania. His works have been performed by the Louisville Orchestra, Omaha Philharmonic, Long Island Philharmonic, Philharmonia Virtuosi, National Philharmonic, National Chamber Orchestra, Knoxville Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, Wheeling (West Virginia) Symphony, Russian National Orchestra, St. Petersburg State Academic Symphony, and Chamber Orchestra Kremlin, among others. Three CDs of his orchestral works are available on the Chandos, KOCH International, and Arabesque labels, and a CD of his solo and chamber music, all featuring violinist Kurt Nikkanen, will be released towards the end of the year.
Gerber was born in 1948 in Washington, D.C. and received a B.A. from Haverford College and an M.F.A. from Princeton University. His composition teachers included Robert Parris, Milton Babbitt, Earl Kim, and J.K. Randall. For more information, please see www.stevengerber.com
Sessions of Sweet Silent Thought (2003-4)
(5 Sonnets of William Shakespeare)
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought,
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Then can I drown an eye (unused to flow)
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long since cancelled woe,
And moan th' expense of many a vanished sight.
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee (dear friend)
All losses are restored, and sorrows end.
Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Is lust in action, and till action, lust
Is perjured, murd'rous, bloody full of blame,
Savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust,
Enjoyed no sooner but despised straight,
Past reason hunted, and no sooner had
Past reason hated as a swallowed bait,
On purpose laid to make the taker mad.
Mad in pursuit and in possession so,
Had, having, and in quest, to have extreme,
A bliss in proof and proved, a very woe,
Before a joy proposed behind a dream.
All this the world well knows yet none knows well,
To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.
No longer mourn for me when I am dead,
Than you shall hear the surly sullen bell
Give warning to the world that I am fled
From this vile world with vilest worms to dwell:
Nay if you read this line, remember not,
The hand that writ it, for I love you so,
That I in your sweet thoughts would be forgot,
If thinking on me then should make you woe.
O if (I say) you look upon this verse,
When I (perhaps) compounded am with clay,
Do not so much as my poor name rehearse;
But let your love even with my life decay.
Lest the wise world should look into your moan,
And mock you with me after I am gone.
Is it for fear to wet a widow's eye,
That thou consum'st thy self in single life?
Ah, if thou issueless shalt hap to die,
The world will wail thee like a makeless wife,
The world will be thy widow and still weep,
That thou no form of thee hast left behind,
When every private widow well may keep,
By children's eyes, her husband's shape in mind:
Look what an unthrift in the world doth spend
Shifts but his place, for still the world enjoys it;
But beauty's waste hath in the world an end,
And kept unused the user so destroys it:
No love toward others in that bosom sits
That on himself such murd'rous shame commits.
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun,
Coral is far more red, than her lips red,
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun:
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head:
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks,
And in some perfumes is there more delight,
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know,
That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw a goddess go,
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
And yet by heaven I think my love as rare,
As any she belied with false compare.