Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Music I Love - Three Shakespeare Songs, Ralph Vaughan Williams

Three Shakespeare Songs                                     Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)

The Three Shakespeare Songs by V. Williams were written in 1951 and are settings of three texts from various Shakespeare plays.  They were composed for the National Competitive Festival held in England, where choirs would demonstrate their technical abilities by reading “test” pieces such as these.  

As a musician, and having sung these in grad school, I can attest that these are not easy to sight read.  Once learnt, however, they are absolutely inspiring and captivating.  My personal favorite is "Full Fathom Five," just because I love the text.  But I also love the gorgeous dissonances in the second movement, almost as if the colors are melting together.  To me, the second movement is like a warm, chocolate-chip cookie.  The playfulness of the third movement contrasts nicely with the serious and somber first two movements.

What adjectives would you use to describe each movement? 

What do you think of this little music lesson?  Should I post more like this?

Thanks for reading!

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