To mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, Pegasus returned to Winchelsea with a programme of choral works and solo songs which illustrate how the Bard’s poetry has inspired composers across eras and countries.
The concert included music by Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gerald Finzi, Roger Quilter and E.J. Moeran, to texts from plays including As You Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest and Twelfth Night. The first half of the programme culminated in Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music, his ravishing setting of the famous opening of the final act of The Merchant of Venice.
The second half of the concert included works showing how Shakespeare caught the ear of composers elsewhere in Europe, such as Switzerland’s Frank Martin, as well as former King’s Singer turned composer Bob Chilcott.
Three Elizabethan Partsongs – Ralph Vaughan Williams
Under the Greenwood Tree – EJ Moeran
Three Shakespeare Songs – Ralph Vaughan Williams
It was a Lover and his Lass – Gerald Finzi
Take, O Take those Lips Away – Roger Quilter
Orpheus with his Lute – Ralph Vaughan Williams
Serenade to Music – Ralph Vaughan Williams
Four Shakespeare Songs – Jaakko Mäntyjärvi
The Isle is Full of Noises – Bob Chilcott
Songs of Ariel – Frank Martin
Matthew Altham – Director
Graham Wood & Tim Reader – Piano