Eighteenth-Century Shakespearean Songs | Australian Eloquence ELQ4824765

Eighteenth-Century Shakespearean Songs


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Label: Australian Eloquence

Cat No: ELQ4824765

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 11th November 2016



Shakespeare’s plays and their incidental lyrics have always been popular with composers, from Thomas Morley to Benjamin Britten. There must be many hundreds of Shakespearean settings, ranging from simple songs to full-length operas.

One of the most fruitful periods for such settings was the eighteenth century, when there were frequent reveals of the plays themselves, for which theatre managers commissioned new settings from the resident theatre composers, such as Thomas Arne.

The present disc offers a selection of the settings for solo voice, with accompaniments ranging from simple figured basses to full string orchestras with an obbligato flute. It even includes one or two items in which the words were not by Shakespeare at all, but which were either introduced into Shakespearean productions, or were written in his honour, like Arne’s evocative Thou soft-flowing Avon. Like most of the English music of that tuneful era, these songs are something of a revelation for their melodic charm – the English, then as now, loved a tune, and their composers certainly knew how to supply them with plenty of good tunes.

Originally released on L’Oiseau-Lyre, this is the recording’s first release on CD.

‘To hear [these songs] sung by April Cantelo is to hear them at their best’ - Gramophone, November 1961

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