Excerpt from Matti Kovler’s Leaves (2008)

for mezzo-soprano and piano


On Sonnet 73 by William Shakespear

and “Leaves” by Lloyd Schwartz


Kristen Hoff (mezzo-soprano)

Kiu Tung Poon (piano)


Jule, 2008

Premiere Performance

Tanglewood Music Festival 




Every October it becomes important, no, necessary

to see the leaves turning, to be surrounded

by leaves turning; it's not just the symbolism,

to confront in the death of the year your death,

one blazing farewell appearance, though the irony

isn't lost on you that nature is most seductive

when it's about to die, flaunting the dazzle of its

incipient exit, an ending that at least so far

the effects of human progress (pollution, acid rain)

have not yet frightened you enough to make you believe

is real; that is, you know this ending is a deception

because of course nature is always renewing itself—

  the trees don't die, they just pretend,

  go out in style, and return in style: a new style.


– Lloyd Schwartz (1941-)

Sonnet 73


That time of year thou mayst in me behold,

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare ruined choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou seest the twilight of such day,

As after sunset fadeth in the west,

Which by and by black night doth take away,

Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou seest 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 nourished by.

  This thou perceiv’st, which makes thy love more strong,

  To love that well, which thou must leave ere long.


– William Shakespeare (1564-1616)