What’s the connection between classical music and poetry? To celebrate Poetry Month, the Classics a Day team encouraged folks to find out. For the month of April, the challenge is to post poetry used in classical music or works inspired by poetry.
4/18/22 Igor Stravinsky – Three Songs from William Shakespeare
Stravinsky set three Shakespeare poems in 1953 using a serial technique. The music cycles through a set of notes in order. The first song only uses four notes.
4/19/22 Arthur Sullivan – Incidental Music to Shakespeare’s Henry VIII
Gilbert and Sullivan may have been the rage, but Arthur Sullivan wrote music for “serious” theater and operas. His music for this Shakespearean play was first published in 1877.
4/20/22 Zdenek Fibich – Othello, Symphonic Poem after Shakespeare, Op. 6
Bedřich Smetana conducted the premiere of this work in 1873. The tone poem focuses on the play’s three main characters — Othello, Desdemona, and Iago.
4/21/22 Alexander Lokshin – Symphony No. 5, “Shakespeare’s Sonnets”
Lokshin composed his “symphony with a voice” in 1969. The sonnets were translated into Russion by Boris Pasternak, author of “Doctor Zhivago.”
4/22/22 Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco – Shakespeare Sonnets, Op. 125
Castelnuovo-Tedesco considered Shakespeare’s poetry “perfectly musical: it unites the spiritual subtlety of English with the sonorous splendour of Italian.”