Vocals: Deborah Anderson (lead) and Aaron Schumacher (background); Orchestrations/Audio Sequencing: Richard DeRosa; Guitar: Matt Hornbeck.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s masterpiece from Sonnets from the Portuguese #43, “How Do I Love Thee?” was part of a series of poems she wrote in secret while developing a friendship and romance, which led to her engagement to Robert Browning. Prior to publication, due to her private nature, she didn’t want the public to know the letters were written by her, so she tried to disguise it, hence her compilation title. This sonnet expresses the highest form of love, one that has been tried, tested and developed over time. It also emphasizes being in love as a deeply spiritual experience. “I love thee with a love I seemed to lose with my lost saints,” sets up the comparison of revering him for his saintly qualities, and at the same time, there is a sense of profound loss and longing with his absence. Elizabeth married Robert Browning in 1846. Due to her poor health and her father’s disapproval of their engagement, they eloped to Italy to reside there. She passed away fifteen years later in 1861. “And if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death,” implies that their love will continue to increase throughout eternity.
Browning expresses her love in epic proportions, with unbridled romantic idealism, surely one of the reasons this sonnet has remained so popular in literature. I knew from the beginning that the style of the music for this sonnet should enter into the modern jazz realm, due to its timeless essence, modern language and because of the inherent emphasis of important key words, which easily allow for a bossa nova rhythm. Be sure to check out our video on youtube.com at the following link:
-Deborah Anderson, Co-Composer/Co-Producer
Sonnet Love Songs album