Our 2016-2017 season concludes with…
400 Years of Shakespeare
June 2, 3, 4
A survey of a cappella settings of Shakespeare’s famous words by composers from the Renaissance to the present.
Several of the works are set to music using the same text – in the case of Blow, Blow, thou winter wind from As You Like It (Act II, Scene vii) by composers 300 years apart – Thomas Arne 1710-1778) and Matthew Harris (b 1956). The shorter Arne composition is light and melodic, even though the text concerns ingratitude and the failure of friendship. Shakespeare’s sarcastic commentary (missing from the Arne setting) is included in the Harris setting: “Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly. Then heigh-ho, the holly! This life is most jolly!” Fascinating to compare the two – the affect of the Harris setting is anything but light and melodic. Ralph Vaughn Williams is represented by three lovely songs – two from The Tempest, Full Fathom Five and The Cloud-Capp’d Towers, and one from Midsummer Night’s Dream – Over Hill, Over Dale. The 21st Century includes When time is broke, a set of three works by Cecilia McDowall combining texts from several different plays and poems into a commentary on love and relationship. And finally, the lovely Shall I compare thee to a sumer’s day by Nils Lindberg and the humorous Cuckoo, Cuckoo by Dominic DiOrio. We finish with Shakespeare Suite, by Nancy Wertsch, a trilogy of songs chosen to reflect youth, love and springtime in Shakespeare’s England. Tickets for all concerts are available, online or at the door of each concert location. Sanford Dole, BCG Artistic Director, will give a preview lecture 30 minutes before the start of each concert.