Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind, from As You Like It (Day 60)

Troop 194Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit! It’s the first of March, and that means that Project 194 has been going on for two entire months. The site has attracted more than 700 visitors since it went live at the beginning of the year, and nearly 2/3 of them come back repeatedly. That’s gotten the attention of the Philly arts blog Phindie.com. And of course, in the words of the immortal Al Jolson, “You ain’t heard nothing yet!”

I think we’ll spend some time with one of my favorite collaborators, William Shakespeare, in the coming days. I’ve had the privilege of composing music for half a dozen Shakespeare productions over the years, most recently this fall, when I created a score for Macbeth at the University of Delaware’s Resident Ensemble Players. I’ve chosen to begin, however, with something a little more seasonal, from As You Like It:


Blow, blow, thou winter wind,
Thou art not so unkind
As man’s ingratitude;
Thy tooth is not so keen,
Because thou art not seen,
Although thy breath be rude.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
That dost not bite so nigh
As benefits forgot:
Though thou the waters warp,
Thy sting is not so sharp
As friend remembered not.
Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly
Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
This life is most jolly.

The winter wind doth blow outside my office window this afternoon, and the bitter sky doth bite, so this lyric from As You Like It seems particularly appropriate today. As You Like It is the one play of Shakespeare’s I scored twice; this particular version was created for a production directed by David Howey at the University of the Arts in 1998. That production had a Woodstock-era vibe to it, which made the musical settings of the songs great fun to work on, and you may detect a little whiff of Crosby, Stills and Nash at the beginning of the refrain of this one. This recording is a composer’s demo of a song that was sung by a guitar-strumming Amiens in performance (but, alas, never recorded).

Of course, this song is not just about the weather; it’s about man’s ingratitude, and the bitter sting of “friend remembered not.” Working on Project 194 has been a joyful reminder of the many friends it’s been my good fortune to work with over the past decades. Recalling the many occasions I got to make music and make theater with an amazing array of artists warms me with gratitude in a way that dispels March’s bitter bluster.

One thought on “Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind, from As You Like It (Day 60)

  1. Pingback: Under the Greenwood Tree, from As You Like It (Day 61) | Notes from a SAVI Savant

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