I am no classical music aficionado, though I do love me some Neil Diamond at times (that’s a joke, son). Still, I was impressed with Ian Bostridge’s performance (accompanied by Sir Antonio Pappano) of Finzi’s “Come Away Death” from Twelfth Night in the Shakespeare Live show from the Royal Shakespeare Company in honor of the four hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
So I was interested to hear more, and Bostridge and Pappano’s Shakespeare Songs is certainly that. A lot more.
The recording contains twenty-nine tracks of songs from Shakespeare in settings and adaptations by a wide array of composers, from Schubert and Haydn to Stravinsky and Korngold. Bostridge’s tenor voice is beautiful and clear, and the keyboard or lute accompaniments are masterful.
I thought Bostridge’s style worked better on “Come Away Death” than on “Pretty Ring Time” and “When That I Was a Little Tiny Boy” with their “heys” and “nonnys.” But hey, ho, the wind and the rain, what do I know?
Seriously, this is an amazing collection of Shakespeare songs, and many of the selections are just excruciatingly beautiful. They’ll rip your heart out and implant in its place some of the most beautiful words ever written.