Music of Shakespeare’s Plays, New CD by Ensemble Chaconne

Music of Shakespeare’s Plays, New CD by Ensemble Chaconne:

Don’t know anything about it, but people were interested last time I had a story about the music of Shakespeare.

Among the many selections are “Willow, Willow” sung by Desdemona before her murder in Othello; “It Was a Lover and His Lass” (As You Like It); “O Mistress Mine” (Twelfth Night); “Hark, Hark! The Lark” (Cymbeline); “Take O Take Those Lips Away” (Measure for Measure); “Full Fathom Five” (The Tempest), “Go from My Window” from Ophelia’s mad scene in Hamlet; and “Greensleeves,” Shakespeare’s best-known ballad tune (quoted in The Merry Wives of Windsor), an allusion to women of ill repute, recognized by their green sleeves.
I’m curious about the Ophelia song. I wrote the beginning of a play once that I called “Ophelia’s Song”. The idea was that, like R&G Are Dead, it focused on the scenes between the scenes, what Ophelia was up to when she wasn’t on stage. The story was that she and Hamlet definitely had a relationship going, and he’d convinced her that he was just “playing” mad. I like that scene where she enters and gives the flowers to everybody. It might be the most tragic bit in the whole play, short of Hamlet’s final deathbed speech. Especially if there was a little more meat there to work with. Shakespeare didn’t really give her much depth.

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One thought on “Music of Shakespeare’s Plays, New CD by Ensemble Chaconne

  1. There’s a really cool book already on the market called Shakespeare’s songbook, about the songs in the plays, whether by Bill or not.

    As the introduction explains, “A modern play that included, in passing, such disparate and even fragmentary lines as ‘Stormy weather,’ ‘Hey Jude,’ or ‘You can get any thing you want’ would easily be recognized as containing allusions to popular songs. People would immediately think of the tunes and, to some extent, the rest of the lyrics of those songs and would realize that those members of the audience who didn’t recognize the song references and the associations they conjured up were missng part of the message.”

    It’s got a CD of some of the tunes, too.

    BTW, you have any interest in a Shakespeare blogring? Another Shakespeare blogger introduced himself in the comments to the Actors Shakespeare Project blog looking for links, and I’m wondering whether this might not be of value…

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