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Shakespeare - The Sonnets


Price: £13.58 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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Frequently Bought Together

Shakespeare - The Sonnets + Shakespeare's Original Pronunciation: Speeches and Scenes Performed as Shakespeare Would Have Heard Them
Price For Both: £22.99

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Product details

  • Audio CD (23 April 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Active Distribution Ltd
  • ASIN: B0071XTBSQ
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 102,370 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore. Sonnet 60
2. Thou blind fool love Sonnet137
3. O, never say that I was false of heart Sonnet109
4. How oft,when thou,my music play'st Sonnet128
5. Shall I compare thee to a summers day? Sonnet18
6. Against that time - If ever that time come Sonnet49
7. No longer mourn for me when I am dead Sonnet71
8. Love is too young to know what conscience is Sonnet151
9. When I do count the clock that tells the time Sonnet12
10. Who will believe my verse in time to come Sonnet17
11. Those lines that I before have writ do lie Sonnet115

Product Description

Written during the time of Elizabeth I and re-imagined for the Diamond Jubilee year of Elizabeth II, these are the most precious words ever written about love. Performed on instruments from the early 17th century, played by the cream of the world s period instrument specialists, conceived with immense passion, commitment and integrity, Shakespeare: The Sonnets was recorded in London over the last 6 months. Fresh from his success of recording an outsize Renaissance mass for a massive 40 parts that had not been heard for 400 years (and winning a Gramophone Album of the Year Award in the process), Robert Hollingworth, director of vocal ensemble I Fagiolini (also a judge on the UK s Choir of the Year and involved in a number of films) was looking for a new challenge. To a specialist of the Renaissance period, Shakespeare s sonnets are an intriguing challenge: the most romantic and personal poems ever written but rarely set to music. All the lyrics are Shakespeare s own and no additions made, although occasionally lines have been moved around to fit the contemporary song structures. Within this, the meaning is never altered and the emotional content of the sonnets is always sustained. What is amazing is how modern some of Shakespeare s language is: Blind Fool Love , or the blues sonnet No Longer Mourn - or the final track, Love is a Babe . Singers from all over the UK perform on the album, some of whom have performed at the New York Metropolitan, La Scala Milan and just about every stadium and concert hall across the globe. Finding players of these rare and ancient instruments ought to have been incredibly difficult but in fact the UK is the world leader in modern performers on these recreated period instruments, and experts in playing in period style. What proved to be harder was securing their services, as they are constantly flying around the world, giving concerts and making recordings of the music of the time. February 6th seems like the perfect day to launch the project, the day in 1952 that Elizabeth II became queen. Words composed in the time of one Elizabeth, re-imagined in the time of another. The album The Sonnets will be officially released in the UK this year on Shakespeare s birthday, April 23rd.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R Heany on 25 April 2012
Format: Audio CD
I have to say, I was a little dubious about the concept of recording modern musical arrangements with exclusively Renaissance instruments, but i'm happy to say the result is really quite brilliant! The music sweeps over you...interesting, melodic, very catchy and, much like prose contained within, it changes mood and vibe appropriately. It's wonderful to hear such a fresh interpretation of the Bard's words...no longer will they forever live as distant memories from my school days, but now they can happily live on alongside my other music. Highlights for me are Cara Dillon singing "Shall I Compare Thee To A Summers Day" and "How oft, when thou, my music play'st". Well done to all involved...Highly recommended.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Margaret Ellis on 28 April 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Shall I compare this to a summer's day?
Best not for summers lately have been grim.
The soddin' rain it raineth every day,
And lakes and rivers o'er flow their rim.
The darling buds of May are nipped by frost,
And darkest storm clouds overcast the sky.
Work in the garden is love's labour lost,
And only wellies keep our cold feet dry.
But go indoors and huddle by the fire.
Keep warm and listen to this CD play.
Let notes from sackbut, harpsichord and lyre,
And Shakespeare's sonnets take your cares away.
So long as you've got volume that your ears can hear,
Just sit and listen - while you drink a beer.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By jymbob on 25 April 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Pre-ordered this CD, it was delivered the other day and have been listening to it ever since.
Really like the CD, the songs are very catchy and easy to listen to. Nice to hear something original, with beautiful music from some truly unique instruments creating sounds I have never heard before.
Would highly recommend!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Steven Greatwood on 31 May 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Well I bought this without prior hearing a track based on the concept alone. Although not all sonnets on this album work, it is very well done by all the musicians and singers involved. On first hearing it sounds like something George Harrison would have taken on and is does in part sound like his music too. But the more you hear it the more original that it becomes.

Stand out tracks are "Blind fool love" & "Shall I consider you to a summer's day". The instruments although Jacobean in origin, sound quite modern because of the way they are played.

This is different and would appeal to a wide audience, I just hope that there may be another one to follow this fine effort.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By englishheather TOP 500 REVIEWER on 30 April 2012
Format: MP3 Download Verified Purchase
On Radio 2 earlier today Jeremy Vine introduced Sonnets of Shakespeare set to contemporary music. I thought, wow, what a brilliant way to get our young people learning them and maybe it will bring alive what is often regarded as dried up and impossible to understand stuff. I thought of the children first, believing it's too late for olds like me. I have owned a copy of the complete works of Shakespeare for years but I always gave up before doing any part of it justice. But, sitting here later I couldn't get it off my mind and as music is food for my soul I thought well alright perhaps I could also learn why so many regard Shakespeare so highly. Hence, I searched Amazon and found this. Ever impatient when I really want something I downloaded the MP3 album rather than wait for a CD and have been playing it ever since. It is beautiful.

There is no 'Product Description' on the listing page for the MP3 album but there is on the CD page which details the considerable work and talent that went into its making. It explains that the album was produced to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee reign of Elizabeth II. I like that it was wished that 'the project' be launched on 6th February, the 60th anniversary of the actual day she became our Queen, and that it was officially released here on the anniversary of Shakespeare's birth, 23rd April (born 1564). I like that he wrote these during the (latter end of) the reign of Elizabeth I, a lady whose life and doings have fascinated me since my childhood.

Of course, these are the tip of the iceberg; only 11 Sonnets are included in this album (he wrote 154 in total) which apparently took six months to produce. (There's also a 1 minute track: 'La Mourisque (Exit Fanfare)' at the end of the MP3 album which is not listed on the CD page.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ched on 6 Mar 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A bit too popy for my taste (although i find it difficult to explain exactly what i mean by that!)
Production is squeaky clean - A bit like being in your aunts house when she's just spring cleaned and you can't relax and feel comfortable in there.
Songs are listenable bu not memorable (apart for Cara Dillon's voice which would have been nice on more tracks)
A larger mix of lead vocalists might have improved the project in my view.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Paul Woolley on 28 May 2012
Format: Audio CD
I expected this to be yawningly boring, but no, most definitely no! It fits together so well, its inspiring, beautiful, I don't think I will ever grow tired of this album. Its in a class of it own, I wish there were more!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jock on 6 May 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I saw this band perform live on the Andrew Marr Show, and I thought they sounded brilliant. I also thought my wife would love them, so got straight onto Amazon to order the CD as a little surprise. I told my wife to open the parcel and have a listen when it arrived (she didn't know it was meant as a present).

Much to my surprise, she said she didn't like it at all. "It is too sugary sweet, middle of the road and over produced" she said. When I heard it, I had to agree, so iPlayered (is there such a verb?) the Andrew Marr show, and she agreed it was beautiful live.

So it may appeal to folks who like their music highly polished with lots of sugar, but I think the producer wants firing. There are some very good tunes underneath and the words are powerful, and I would go to see them if they ever play live. But this CD might gather dust.

What a pity!
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