New Shakespeare Songbook - United Kingdom

Roxanna Panufnik's setting of Love Sought - from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

A BBC Shakespeare Lives and BBC Radio 3 co-commission.

On the 400 anniversary of his death, the BBC and Austrian broadcaster ORF, with the support of the European Broadcasting Union, have decided to commission a New Shakespeare Songbook, offering today’s composers and musicians across Europe, the chance to respond afresh to these timeless texts.

Kathryn Rudge - Mezzo-soprano

Love Sought - Olivia's speech

OLIVIA
O, what a deal of scorn looks beautiful
In the contempt and anger of his lip!
A murderous guilt shows not itself more soon
Than love that would seem hid: love's night is noon.
Cesario, by the roses of the spring,
By maidhood, honour, truth and every thing,
I love thee so, that, maugre all thy pride,
Nor wit nor reason can my passion hide.
Do not extort thy reasons from this clause,
For that I woo, thou therefore hast no cause,
But rather reason thus with reason fetter,
Love sought is good, but given unsought better.

Kathryn Rudge on set of the music video

Sounds of Shakespeare on BBC Radio 3

About the New Shakespeare Songbook

Peter Maniura - BBC Shakespeare Lives:

"If music be the food of love, play on..."

Shakespeare is a great songwriter; songs permeate the tragedies, comedies and histories and have provided a source of inspiration for composers, lyricists and performers for four centuries.

On the 400 anniversary of his death, the BBC and Austrian broadcaster ORF, with the support of the European Broadcasting Union, have decided to commission a New Shakespeare Songbook, offering today’s composers and musicians across Europe, the chance to respond afresh to these timeless texts.

But this isn’t just music to be heard, it’s meant to be seen as well. Composers and performers worked with film-makers and directors to produce new songs which were also conceived as films.

The teams were free to use any Shakespeare text from his plays and sonnets and to set them in English, or in their native tongue. There was no restriction in terms of musical genre. The British songs were co-commissioned by BBC Shakespeare Lives and BBC Radio 3.

We hope you enjoy the imaginative, diverse and poetic results – welcome to the New Shakespeare Songbook!