Shakespeare and Classical Music

Julie Sanders

in The Edinburgh Companion to Shakespeare and the Arts

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780748635238
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652297 | DOI:
Shakespeare and Classical Music

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This chapter states that orchestral or symphonic music occupies a no less charged place in the history of Shakespearean transmission and reception. It alternates between figures as seemingly removed from each other as Henry Purcell and Hans Werner Henze in addressing, among other kinds of classical music, the sonata, film music and the symphonic poem and in exploring why particular plays are the recurring targets of musical treatment. Shakespeare's plays and the tripartite structure of the sonata form provide Henze with the backbone, the musical and literary vertebrae, of his rich artistic response. It is seen that music frequently offers motifs to signify or suggest particular characters. As the twenty-first century dawned, classical music had become a reliable shorthand signifier in the Shakespearean canon in its own right, testimony, were it needed, to the longevity and importance of the relationship between the two art-forms.

Keywords: Shakespeare; classical music; Henry Purcell; Hans Werner Henze; sonata; film music; symphonic poem

Chapter.  9426 words. 

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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