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"If music be the food of love, play on!" Shakespeare referenced music frequently in his plays. This two-disc series pulls all the songs mentioned or performed in his work, so that you can hear for yourself the tunes his audiences probably knew by heart.
This is the music of Renaissance England, the stuff that would have been performed in the royal court and sung by women as they went about their work. Listen to this to put yourself in the mind of the Bard.
In the late 1600s, Jacobean composer John Blow wrote an opera based on Shakespeare's long poem "Venus and Adonis." It was performed in front of the royal court in 1681.
Jazz singer Cleo Laine released an album in 1964 where she sings lines from the Bard's plays. Fans say that her vocals take Shakespeare to a whole new level—even Will himself might have approved.
Let's say you happened to be in high school in 1996, the year that Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet was released. You went to see the movie. You wept over the lovers' tragic death—how could such pretty people end this way?—and then you went out to a music store and bought an actual copy (no downloads, no iTunes) of the soundtrack, which you and everyone you knew soon learned by heart. Don't ask us how we know this. We just do.
This Minneapolis-based powerpop band started rocking in the late 1980s, when Harvard grads Matt Wilson, Elaine Harris and Dan Wilson, plus University of Minnesota grad John Munson got together. They broke up in the 1990s, but their Bard-worthy name lives on.