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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: May ::
Re: Music/Shakespeare
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 8.0572.  Friday, 16 May 1997.

[1]     From:   David Mycoff <
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        Date:   Thursday, 15 May 1997 19:01:22 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Music/Shakespeare

[2]     From:   David Mycoff <
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        Date:   Friday, 16 May 1997 10:06:45 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Music for Shakespeare

[3]     From:   John Drakakis <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 14 May 1997 23:49:09 +0100
        Subj:   RE: SHK 8.0561 Music to Shakespeare Songs from His Time

[4]     From:   Stuart Manger <
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        Date:   Thursday, 15 May 1997 20:27:35 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0561  Music to Shakespeare Songs from His Time


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Mycoff <
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Date:           Thursday, 15 May 1997 19:01:22 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Music/Shakespeare

I'm responding to the query about settings by Shakespeare's
contemporaries.  Oxford University Press advertises a five-volume work,
A SHAKESPEARE MUSIC CATALOGUE, ed. Bryan N.S. Gooch and David Thatcher.
1991.   I've not been able to see this source, but surely other list
members have and can comment on its usefulness.

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Mycoff <
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Date:           Friday, 16 May 1997 10:06:45 -0400 (EDT)
Subject:        Music for Shakespeare

In a helpful response to the query about settings by Shakespeare's
contemporaries, Juul Muller-van Santen raises an interesting question
about "anachronistic music":  why would anyone want to hear
Shakespeare's poetry set to music from any other time?  I'm in the midst
of exam-grading, and so I must be brief, but a few thoughts occur that I
suspect many share.

 First, I don't see how anachronism in music is any more problematic
than anachronism in costuming or scene design, as long as the music
makes sense in the context of the total production. Second, just as the
history of critical responses to and stage productions of Shakespeare
makes interesting cultural history, so the history of musical responses,
interpretations, or appropriations.  Third, whenever we read and
interpret Shakespeare's text or produce it for the theatre, we are
staging an encounter between the visions and sensibilities that produced
the text and transmitted it and our own visions and sensibilities, and
this encounter inevitably involves anachronism, even when we attempt to
reconstruct something that has more or less claim to be called original
or period interpretation or performance.  It seems to me that the
tensions between what is old, alien, and past and what is our own are
part of the fascination of interpretation and performance.  And it seems
to me that  part of the value-educational, aesthetic, ideological, and
spiritual-of interpretation and performance issues from those tensions.
I suppose that I have what Brecht called "culinary tastes" in music, so
I am more moved by Finzi's settings than by Britten's, though I find
Britten's more intellectually challenging.  Both educate my response to
Shakespeare's language, however.

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Drakakis <
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Date:           Wednesday, 14 May 1997 23:49:09 +0100
Subject: 8.0561 Music to Shakespeare Songs from His Time
Comment:        RE: SHK 8.0561 Music to Shakespeare Songs from His Time

Dire Straits: Romeo and Juliet
Spin Doctors: Cleopatra's Cat
Cole Porter: Brush up Your Shakespeare

Cheers,
John Drakakis

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Stuart Manger <
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Date:           Thursday, 15 May 1997 20:27:35 +0100
Subject: 8.0561  Music to Shakespeare Songs from His Time
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0561  Music to Shakespeare Songs from His Time

In UK, there is a very respected jazz composer and band leader called
John Dankworth. His wife is the seraphic Cleo Laine, quite one of the
most miraculous voices of our time. He wrote for her a series of
settings of Shakespeare Sonnets. Voice, lively mixed instrumental
backings / arrangements. Varieties of tempo, some exquisitely sensitive
to the rhythms and subtleties of the text. I am afraid that I do not own
mine now, and I am not sure under what flag it will be flying in US.
Definitely worth pursuing. And unusual too. Peggy Lee's 'Fever' has a
wonderfully irreverent verse about Romeo and Juliet?

Stuart Manger
 

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