Sun, Sonnets and Song; CULTURE an Eclectic Mix of Pop Talent Has Come Together to Set Shakespeare's Sonnets to Music for the RSC's Complete Works Festival, Writes Terry Grimley

The Birmingham Post (England), February 21, 2007 | Go to article overview

Sun, Sonnets and Song; CULTURE an Eclectic Mix of Pop Talent Has Come Together to Set Shakespeare's Sonnets to Music for the RSC's Complete Works Festival, Writes Terry Grimley


Byline: Terry Grimley

Every so often you come across an idea that seems so good and so obvious that you can't quite believe it hasn't been done before.

And so it is with Nothing Like the Sun, the project which has two performances at the Swan Theatre, Stratford, this weekend as part of the RSC's Complete Works festival.

A collaboration between the RSC and Opera North, it will unveil 14 new musical settings of Shakespeare sonnets. Eight of them are included in an extended work, with the title Nothing Like the Sun, by Gavin Bryars. The other five are individual settings commissioned from composers selected by Bryars.

As you might expect from a composer noted for a celebrated collaboration with Tom Waits, the five composers are an eclectic bunch.

There's violinist Alexander Balanescu, founder of the Balanescu Quartet, who is wellknown for his work with Michael Nyman, but the other four come from various different parts of the popular music field.

Antony Hegerty, leader of Mercury Prizewinners Antony and the Johnsons, has written his setting with his regular collaborator Nico Muhly. Then there's Irish singer-songwriter Gavin Friday, former DJ and electronic musician Mira Calix and American singer Natalie Merchant, former frontperson of 10,000 Maniacs.

All the settings are performed by soprano Anna Maria Friman and tenor John Potter (with the possible exception of Gavin Friday's which, depending on a late decision, he might sing himself), with an eight-strong ensemble featuring Bryars on double bass, plus two violas and cello, clarinet doubling bass clarinet, acoustic and electric guitar, piano and percussion. Bryars' piece also features a video projection by Danish architect Pippa Nissen.

"Originally I thought of having a whole mixture of people, but in the end I thought it was better to have more of a concentration of people who were in the so-called pop world," says Bryars.

"A lot of people working in pop are very intelligent musicians who feel constrained by the medium. Tom Waits, for example, is a very intelligent person with wide-ranging interests and Antony Hegerty is a very thoughtful composer."

When we spoke during rehearsals in Leeds earlier this week Bryars had still to hear all the settings, but he had a positive feeling about how the project would sound.

"I think it's going to be absolutely astounding. I heard my stuff last week for the first time and it sounds just as I hoped it would. The advantage of this format is that none is going to be more than five or six minutes long, so if we had a dud - and I don't think we will - you wouldn't have to wait long for the next one."

One of the surprising aspects of this project is that it highlights the relative neglect of Shakespeare's sonnets as material for musical settings.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Sun, Sonnets and Song; CULTURE an Eclectic Mix of Pop Talent Has Come Together to Set Shakespeare's Sonnets to Music for the RSC's Complete Works Festival, Writes Terry Grimley
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.