Sunday, February 12, 2012

New Album Sets Shakespeare's Sonnets to Music

Musician Robert Hollingworth, best known for his directorial work with the brilliant ensemble I Fagiolini, has decided to set some of the most famous love poems ever written to contemporary music. Howevere, there is a twist: All the works will be performed on instruments popular at the time of Elizabeth I and her successor, King James.

Singers on the album will include folk star Eliza Carthy, and they are all backed by musicians playing replica instruments such as lutes, a type of 16-string cello called a lirone and a massive stringed instrument called a theorbo. Among the musicians involved in the project is drummer Geoff Dugmore, who dropped his rock and roll roots (having played with Rod Stewart and Tina Turner) to play renaissance drums on an album which has taken six months to record.

The arrangements on the album, which were developed by Hollingworth, have not changed any of Shakespeare's words but have repeated some lines and moved others. The sonnets include 154 poems, and were first published in 1609, just a few years before Shakespeare's death.

The album, called The Sonnets, set to be released on April 23 -- Shakespeare's birthday. Mr Hollingworth says he thinks the venture would have a certain "curiosity value" but expect it to be liked by everyone from pop music fans to poetry-lovers.

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