Oberon

SSATB, unaccompanied

Oberon’s famous speech from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, describing in flowery detail his wicked plans. Dancing, spritely music that exposes Oberon’s delight in the nasty trick he is about to play on Titania.

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PROGRAM NOTE

Oberon’s speech to Puck from A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM shows him at a moment where he is particularly angry with Titania, and has decided to play a terrible trick on her. He expects to enjoy this trick very much, a lot more than he should. He tells Puck, who has just found the magic flower for him, where he will find Titania and cast the spell, a beautiful spot where she often sleeps. The flowers that are mentioned all have specific associations. Wild thyme is thought of as a favorite of the fairies. Oxlips are associated with sleep, and musk-roses are Titania’s favorite flower.

The music traces Oberon’s delight in the trick he is about to play in the dance-like rhythms, but also his deepening anger as the harmonies get darker and more harsh as he imagines Titania in the throes of his spell.

from A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

OBERON (to Puck)

Hast thou the flower there? …

I pray thee, give it me.
I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight;
And there the snake throws her enamell’d skin,
Weed wide enough to wrap a fairy in:
And with the juice of this I’ll streak her eyes,
And make her full of hateful fantasies…

—from A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, Act 2 Scene 1

by William Shakespeare