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And now for something completely different: Ian Bostridge singing Shakespeare Songs. It’s a simple concept, with the tenor interpreting a generous selection of the playwright’s texts as set to music by a wide range of composers. It is incredibly diverse, running the gamut from Shakespeare’s contemporary (and possible collaborator) Thomas Morley’s setting of ‘It was a lover and his lass’, through Schubert’s ‘An Sylvia’ to Tippet’s Songs for Ariel. It’s fascinating to hear the same text set by different composers – for example, ‘Come away, come away, death’ from Twelfth Night is given in three contrasting 20th-century versions by Quilter, Finzi and Korngold. Bostridge is an ideal singer for this programme. His tenor is lean with a wide range of colours, his diction is superb, his emotional attachment to each song palpable, and it makes for an unusually intimate and really quite personal listening experience. One feels sung to, not at. He is accompanied with subtlety and idiomacy by Antonio Pappano at the keyboard, occasionally joined by other instrumentalists.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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