Stories » Right on time for Shakespeare Week, Rufus Wainwright commemorates Bard's death / Yorkshire Evening Post

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Right on time for Shakespeare Week, Rufus Wainwright commemorates Bard's death / Yorkshire Evening Post

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Right on time for Shakespeare Week, Rufus Wainwright commemorates the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death with an album that sets nine of his sonnets to music. The project had its genesis in 2009 when the Canadian singer-songwriter was asked to compose music for Robert Wilson's Shakespeare's Sonnets production first staged at the Berliner Ensemble. A year later Wainwright was commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra to orchestrate five of the sonnets and three appeared on his 2010 album Songs For Lulu.

Reuniting with the producer Marius de Vries, with whom he worked on the epic Want One and Want Two albums, Wainwright has drafted in the likes of Sian Phillips, Florence Welch, his sister Martha and opera singer Anna Prohaska to help him realise classical/pop crossover versions of poems such as of A Woman's Face, Take All My Loves and When in Disgrace with Fortune and Men's Eyes. But it's the recitations of Hollywood stars Helena Bonham-Carter, Carrie Fisher and William Shatner that are likely to command most attention. It's a curious mixture of the grandiose, the theatrical, the arty and the reflective that at times is as head scratching as it's impressive, but perhaps Wainwright intended it to be that way. Happy anniversary, Mr Shakespeare.

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