In Act I, Scene ii of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the “airy Spirit” Ariel is directed by Prospero to tell Ferdinand that his father has died in the shipwreck. the first song, “Come unto these yellow sands,” invites Ferdinand to the site of the shipwreck and pay attention to the message of the next song. She then sings “Full fathom five thy father lies” telling of his father’s death. Shakespeare adds a somewhat comforting idea that, through a “sea-change” his father has become “something rich and strange.” This is the origin of the term “sea-change.”
Ariel’s Song was composed for soprano, Laura Anderson, and pianist, Pauline Troia with the support of a grant from the Hewlett Foundation, administered by the Arts Council of Monterey County. In 2018 I made a string quartet and soprano version.