Sunday, 17 August 2014

Music on Sunday; Music inspired by Shakespeare

Being inspired by Shakespeare lately (hence the quotes yesterday) I thought I'd look up if there are songs that are also inspired by Shakespeare and yes there are quite a lot actually:

Some of the lyrics were inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet. In Shakespeare's play, Romeo swallows poison when he believes Juliet is dead. Juliet responds by taking her own life. This led many people to believe the song was about suicide, but Dharma was using Romeo and Juliet as an example of a couple who had faith that they would be together after their death.

The idea for the Walrus came from the poem The Walrus and The Carpenter, which is from the sequel to Alice in Wonderland called Through the Looking-Glass.
The voices at the end of the song came from a BBC broadcast of the Shakespeare play King Lear, which John Lennon heard when he turned on the radio while they were working on the song. He decided to mix bits of the broadcast into the song, resulting in some radio static and disjointed bits of dialogue.The section of King Lear used came from Act Four, Scene 6, with Oswald saying: "Slave, thou hast slain me. Villain, take my purse," which comes in at the 3:52 mark. After Oswald dies, we hear this dialogue:
Edgar: "I know thee well: a serviceable villain, As duteous to the vices of thy mistress As badness would desire."
Gloucester: "What, is he dead?"
Edgar: "Sit you down, father. Rest you."

This was a working title that stuck because the band felt that Shakespeare's Richard III, which is a very dark play, matched the menacing tone of the song. Richard III himself is not mentioned in the lyrics and has nothing to do with this number.

This is one of three Shakespeare sonnet settings on All Days Are Nights: Songs For Lulu. Sometimes their harmonies can be very adventurous. Spinner UK asked Wainwright if the complexity of the language influenced him. He replied: "What I found with the Shakespeare sonnets is because he was such a genius, you just shouldn't think too much -- have it be more of a 'feel' situation. That's the route I took. Hook your musical knowledge onto the sonnet and just see where it takes you, and ask no questions, and you'll get somewhere."

The lyric: "Another sunrise with my sad captains, with you I choose to lose my mind" comes from a line in Shakespeare's play Antony and Cleopatra. It's adapted from when Mark Antony speaks about his drinking partners: "Come, let's have one other gaudy night; call to me all my sad captains; fill our bowls; once more, let's mock the midnight bell."

© KH

1 comment:

Daan (Dan) said...