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Love, Beauty, Desire

Soprano and Baritone solo
Vocal ensemble and orchestra


Rodney Sharman, composer



Sharman score.jpeg

According to Classical scholar Albert Smith, for Aphrodite (Latin: Venus) to appear at any human encounter, these three elements must be present: Love, Beauty and Desire. My work for voices and orchestra is a meditation of these themes.


The work is in several movements, opening with a movement for orchestra alone which elides into the second movement, a trembling invocation of Desire for soprano and orchestra on Atom Egoyan's text: "In you alone, desire gives birth to delirium". This is followed by an ode on Love's power for choir alone on text by the 17th Century translator of Ovid into English, George Sandys. The fourth movement is for baritone and strings on my own text (in German and English) which asks a very modern question, how is it possible to fully love another and one's self?  As light and image are changed when reflected in water, so the fifth movement, Echo, is a distorted mirror of  the second movement, Desire. The reference is to "Echo and Narcissus", from Ovid'sMetamorphoses.   This is followed by a song for baritone with text in German by the Dutch author, Gerard Reve: "Before I go into the night, that glows in darkness for eternity, I want to speak one last time, and say this: that I have searched for nothing else than you, than you, than you alone." (RS)

Love, Beauty, Desire was commissioned by the Vancouver Symphony, with the generous assistance of the Canada Council, and was premiered in [YEAR] by the VSO and musica intima. 


The central movement of Love, Beauty, Desire, “Love”, with a text by George Sandys, has become a favourite of musica intima—recorded on 2010’s into light.

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