Shakespeare in Song

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The one-two punch of words plus music gives choral music its power. And when the words come from William Shakespeare, the music is all the more inspired.

Today’s program focuses on how Shakespeare's plays and poetry have inspired composers from around the world – from his native England, to Germany, to Finland, to the U.S. We hear the different ways composers have tried to bring his words to life in music, with a special focus on texts from The Tempest and A Midsummer’s Night Dream.



Ralph Vaughan Williams: Three Shakespeare Songs for Chorus

No. 1 Full Fathom Five

No. 2 Cloud-Capp’d Towers

No. 3 Over Hill, Over Dale

Holst Singers

Stephen Layton, Conductor

Album Title: Vaughan Williams: Over Hill, Over Dale

Hyperion 66777


Emma Lou Diemer: Three Madrigals

O mistress mine, where are you going

Take, o take these lips

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more

University of North Texas Chamber Choir and the University of North A Cappella Choir

Jerry McCoy, Conductor

Ling Yu Kan, Piano

Album Title: Musicks Empire

GIA Publications (ChoralWorks Series) CD-710


Amy Marcy Beach: Three Shakespeare Choruses, Op. 39

I Over hill, over dale

II Come unto these yellow sands

III Through the house give glimmering light

Etherea Vocal Ensemble

Derek Greten-Harrison, Conductor

Album Title: Hymn To The Dawn

Delos 3431


Jaakko Mantyjarvi: Four Shakespeare Songs:

Come away, come away, death


Double, double toil and trouble

Full Fathom Five

Phoenix Bach Choir

Charles Bruffy, Conductor

Album Title: Shakespeare in Song

Chandos CHSA 5031


Frank Martin: Songs of Ariel from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempset’

Come unto these yellow sands (Ariel’s Song)

Full Fathom Five

Before you can say, ‘Come,’ and ‘Go’

You are three men of sin

Where the bee sucks, there suck I

Berlin RIAS Kammerchor

Daniel Reuss, Conductor

Album Title: Martin: Messe pour double choeur a cappella

Harmonia Mundi 1951834


Johannes Brahms: Lied von Shakespeare

Monteverdi Choir

John Eliot Gardiner, Conductor

Album Title: Brahms: Choral Works

Philips 666902


George Shearing: Songs and Sonnets

I. Live with me and be my love (Sonnet)

VII. Hey, ho, the wind and the rain (from Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’)

The Cambridge Singers

John Rutter, Conductor

Malcolm Creese, Double bass

Wayne Marshall, Piano

Album Title: John Rutter: Feel The Spirit

Collegium Records 128


Nils Lindberg: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Phoenix Bach Choir

Charles Bruffy, Conductor

Album Title: Shakespeare in Song

Chandos CHSA 5031