Dedicated to the chamber choir Les Elément, When Forty Winters has been composed by Patrick Burgan in 1998, therefore two years before the “forty winters shall besiege his own brow”. It is by far the most “Elisabethan” piece : contrasting sections and textures (two-part, one to a part, accompagnied, solo…), voices intertwining à la Ligeti or whispering, subtle figurations like the livery dotted rhythms or the beauty of an ascending fourth…
Martin Kaltenecker (trad. Genevieve Begou)
When forty winters
When forty winters shall besiege thy brow
And dig deep trenches in thy beauty’s field,
Thy youth’s proud livery, so gazed on now,
Will be a tattered weed, of small worth held.
Then being asked where all thy beauty lies—
Where all the treasure of thy lusty days—
To say within thine own deep-sunken eyes
Were an all-eating shame and thriftless praise.
How much more praise deserved thy beauty’s use
If thou couldst answer “This fair child of mine
Shall sum my count and make my old excuse”,
Proving his beauty by succession thine.
This were to be new made when thou art old,
And see thy blood warm when thou feel’st it cold.