John Milton Music
Famed Austrian composer Joseph Haydn spent years setting the lyrics of Milton's Paradise Lost, the Biblical Psalms, and the Book of Genesis to this musical movement. The result is a stirring piece of work that evokes ancient struggles between good and evil.
Handel created this oratorio (an arrangement for both a symphony and choir) based on two Milton poems, "L'Allegro" (The Happy Man) and "Il Penseroso" (The Pensive Man).
Penderecki, a Polish-born composer, is a devout Catholic. He called his opera a Sacra Rappresentazione - sacred interpretation - of Milton's poem. The opera first premiered in 1978 in Chicago.
Electronica composer Eric Whitacre created this opera, very loosely based on the plot of Milton's poem.
The aging Canadian metalheads and extremely unlikely Milton fans Anvil rip off a line from Paradise Lost in their song "666." "I'd rather be a king below than a servant above," the rockers sing. Unfortunately for Anvil, neither scenario seems to have worked out since their 1980s glory days.
Classical composers aren't the only ones drawn to Milton's epic. The punk/metal scene also contains some hard-core fans of Milton's depiction of the struggle between good and evil. The UK-based band Paradise Lost definitely pays homage to Milton with their name.