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Sonnets by William Shakespeare

Sonnets by William Shakespeare

Ref: CDG1123

44 tracks 62 min
Click here to preview trk 9

Read by Margaret Howard

Subtle, clever, witty and deeply profound, Shakespeare's sonnets have captured the imagination of readers for generations. Here they are brought to life, with suitable musical interludes, by broadcaster Margaret Howard and Bernard Palmer.

Price    9.99

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Sonnets by William Shakespeare
Read by Margaret Howard and Bernard Palmer

Some of the greatest poetry every written. Subtle, clever, witty and deeply profound, Shakespeare's sonnets have captured the imagination of readers for generations. Here they are brought to life, with suitable musical interludes, by broadcaster Margaret Howard with Bernard Palmer.

1 Preface read by Martin Souter
2 La Rosignall Jane Pickering Stewart McCoy & Matthew Spring
3 From fairest creatures
4 Look in thy glass
5 A woman's face
6 Music to hear
7 Duncomb's Galliard Anonymous 16th century The Elizabethan Consort
8 Is it for fear
9 Shall I compare thee
10 Who will believe
11 Galliard to the First Pavan William Byrd (c.1539-1623) Martin Souter
12 Weary with toil
13 As an unperfect actor
14 When to the sessions
15 Fantasia a 4 William Byrd The Elizabethan Consort
16 Why didst thou promise
17 When in disgrace with fortune
18 O how much more
19 Fantasia a 3 William Byrd The Elizabethan Consort
20 Full many a glorious morning
21 Like as the waves
22 The honie-suckle Anthony Holborne (fl.1584-1602) The Elizabethan Consort
23 Not marble nor the gilded monuments
24 Sin of self love
25 When forty winters
26 La Vecchia Pavan John Johnson (c.1540-1594) Lynda Sayce & Matthew Spring
27 No longer mourn for me
28 That time of year
29 Some glory in their birth
30 How like a winter
31 The fruit of love Anthony Holborne The Elizabethan Consort
32 When in the chronicle of wasted time
33 In faith I do not love thee
34 Let me not to the marriage of true minds
35 Two loves I have
36 Sellingers Rownde William Byrd Martin Souter
37 How oft when thou, my music
38 My mistress's eyes
39 Those lips that love's own hand
40 La Vecchia Galliard John Johnson Lynda Sayce & Matthew Spring
41 Lo, as a careful housewife
42 The expense of spirit
43 No! Time thou shalt not boast
44 Greensleeves Anonymous 16th century Lynda Sayce & Matthew Spring

Sonnets by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

CCL CDG 1123
Cover image: Procession of characters from Shakespeare Irish School (19th century) © Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund, USA/www.bridgeman.co.uk
Published by Classical Communications Ltd
P & C 2005 Classical Communications Ltd
Made in Great Britain


Inside book:

Sonnets by William Shakespeare
Read by Margaret Howard and Bernard Palmer

Shakespeare's Sonnets count amongst the wonders of the literary world. Like Debussy's piano preludes, or Shostakovitch's Preludes and Fugues for piano, the sonnets say huge amounts and cover huge themes within a small format. They are a distillation of many thoughts and many moods into just fourteen lines of text. We have made a selection for this album and added music of Shakespeare's period, using ancient instruments - lutes, viols and virginals - which produce a gentle sound quite unlike anything modern. The composers represented include some of the greatest figures of the Elizabethan age. William Byrd was a particular favourite of Queen Elizabeth, and Anthony Holborne was an industrious publisher of music for dancing.
Shakespeare's sonnets were published in London in 1609. This fine volume is part of a long tradition of sonnet composition, and of publishing sonnets in collections, in the way that a composer might publish a volume of madrigals or dance suites. The sonnet form evolved during the high Italian Middle Ages. Its most famous exponents included Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) and Petrarch (1304-1374), two writers whose words were often set to music. The form spread North and West through Spain and France, where it was developed by the French 'Pléiade' poets Joachim DuBellay (1522-1560) and Pierre Ronsard (1524-1585). Publishing precedents for Shakespeare's volume could be found in the French sonnet cycles of Ronsard, Du Bellay, and the two short cycles of Étienne de la Boétie (1530-1563). In England, Sir Philip Sydney (1554-1586) contributed famously to the genre and established the rhyme scheme which Shakespeare was to adopt in his own works.
The earlier French and Italian poets used the 'Italian' sonnet form. This consisted of two groups of four lines, called quatrains, which always rhymed' a-b-b-a, a-b-b-a', followed by two groups of three lines, or tercets, which rhymed c-c-d, e-e-d or c-c-d, e-d-e). The five rhyming sounds make a marvellous music in themselves in the vowel rich Romance languages of French or Italian, but in the English language the scheme can start to sound contrived and monotonous, particularly in a series of sonnets on the same theme.
Shakespeare followed the more idiomatic rhyme scheme that Philip Sydney used in the first great Elizabethan sonnet cycle, Astrophel and Stella (published posthumously in 1591). This scheme interlaces the rhymes of two pairs of couplets to make a quatrain, 'a-b-a-b'. Two differently rhymed quatrains follow, and the poem concludes with a rhyming couplet, making seven rhymes in all, two more than in the 'Italian' sonnet form. The artistic range of expression is thereby increased, and the poetic form is less likely to become predictable to the ear. Shakespeare can keep us wondering what will come next! The final couplet is often a summary of the preceding lines, sometimes with an added touch of humour, or irony.


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