Sunday, February 15, 2009

Oxford pt. 4

So, I've begun doing research for my paper for my Shakespeare seminar, and, as I believe I've already mentioned, my focus will be on musicians and such in Shakespeare's plays. An angle I thought might be kind of cool to look at is how Shakespeare's songs have been performed for different productions, especially modern productions. 

Today, I came across a story NPR did about a 2005 production of As You Like It set in the mid 20th century. They producers of the show wanted to hire a popular contemporary band to write music for the many songs and instrumental interludes that appear throughout the play. Director, Antoni Cimolino decided that the Barenaked Ladies were up to the task. Now, I've never been a HUGE fan of this band, but I admit they do have a certain quirky intelligence that could be appealing. 

The Barenaked Ladies' songs are largely word-based, a trait that lends itself well to arranging music for Shakespeare's immaculate lyrics. According to Cimolino, he also chose the band because, "[their] melodic lines are both joyous and profoundly sad." 

After hearing about all this, a quick google search brought up the CD which i promptly downloaded. 

Here is a little taste of what the Barenaked Ladies came up with- the song I'm putting up is actually taken from Twelfth Night and so, to my knowledge, was never performed on stage. The words are taken from the opening lines of the first act- a powerful soliloquy delivered by the Duke Orsino. Orsino is asking for more music because he is frustrated in his courtship of the Countess Olivia. He muses that an excess of music might cure his obsession with love. 

without further ado,

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