Archived Concert Reports

Shakespeare's Songbook

Poster Image for Shakespeare's Songbook Lorenzo, in The Merchant of Venice, summarizing the importance of music and song :

The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted. Mark the music.
Not surprisingly, Shakespeare alludes to or includes the text of well over one hundred songs in his works. Music was an integral part of Elizabethan life, as it is today. London publishers were constantly producing broadside ballads, madrigals, and consort pieces, and most educated people could read music and play a tune on a recorder, lute, or viola da gamba.

Shakespeare's characters are a reflection of his times and they too depend on music for moments of comedy and poignancy, whether it be a drunken sing-along at a crowded table, or a gloomy rhyme borne out of love's disillusionment.

Photo of the Choir at the Shakespeare's Songbook Concert

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