2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death but his music and songs are as alive today as they were when he wrote them. His plays are filled with music and songs at every turn, some written specially for specific plays, and others adapted from the varied diet of songs circulating in the form of ballads and lute-song books. Actor-musicians collected songs in manuscripts as well as musical instruments on which to play them: the will of Globe player Augustine Phillips mentions viols and various plucked instruments. Actors such as Edward Alleyn were known for their singing abilities and exploited them in their roles, and jesters like Will Kemp built parts around their dancing as well as singing abilities: when the parts began to dry up for him, Kemp embarked on his famous Nine Daies Wonder, dancing all the way from London to Norwich accompanied by a pipe and tabor.
Liz Kenny (Lute)
Robin Blaze (Counter tenor)
Robin and Liz take the audience through music and songs from Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, sonnets and revivals with music composed by Thomas Morley, John Danyel, John Dowland, Henry Lawes, Henry Purcell and many more including some by Anon!
Robin Blaze is now established in the front rank of interpreters of Purcell, Bach and Handel, and his career has taken him to concert halls and festivals in Europe, North and South America, Japan and Australia. His opera appearances have included The Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Glyndebourne Festival Opera and English National Opera.
He has worked with many distinguished conductors in the early music field: Harry Christophers, Christopher Hogwood, Gustav Leonhardt, Robert King, Nicholas Kraemer, Trevor Pinnock and Sir John Eliot Gardiner. The two latest CD releases, Bach’s B Minor Mass and the three solo countertenor cantatas, have been described as “heart-stopping” in Gramophone.
Elizabeth Kenny is one of Europe’s leading lute players. Her playing has been described as “incandescent” (Music and Vision), “radical” (The Independent) and “indecently beautiful” (Toronto Post). In twenty years of touring she has played with many of the world’s best period instrument groups and experienced many different approaches to music making. She has an extensive discography of collaborations with ensembles across Europe and the USA.