Shakespeare in Opera, Ballet, Orchestral Music and Song: An Introduction to Music Inspired by the Bard

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A unique work in the study of music and literature. The reader is introduced to music from several centuries and to five of the most popular plays in great detail (Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Othello, A Midsummer Night's Dream). Other plays are discussed (1 & 2 Henry IV, Henry V, The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice). The book treats opera, ballet, symphonic music, song, incidental music, Shakespeare's use of music and his use of music as metaphor. It contains no musical notation and assumes no previous knowledge of music or of Shakespeare. Suggested CD and video recordings are listed and keyed by page number to examples in the book. Contrasting the musical works with the plays is an unusual and successful teaching technique, offering insights in to the plays that are not available through the study of the plays alone. (As with all Mellen books, this work is available at a special price when ordered for text use. For text ordering information, call (716) 754-2788.)


“…an excellent syllabus for an introductory cross-disciplinary university course comparing Shakespeare’s plays with the music they have inspired. Teaching such a course would be easy work after reading Graham; he provides his reader with a component-by-component blueprint of how the material should be taught. Each chapter offers a brief module on a specific Shakespearean play and on the operas, ballets, and incidental music spawned by that play. The language is clear and concise. Knowledge of music or of musical theory is not a prerequisite for the reader…. Graham includes a valuable appendix of titles of recommended recordings referred to in the text….contains all the elements of a wonderful cross-disciplinary course in Shakespeare and music; one reading will make you want to teach such a course.” – Consciousness, Literature and the Arts Archive

". . . both well done and timely at this moment when all efforts are focused not only on emphasizing the arts, but on relating the arts to each other. This course, for such it is, opens up all the arts to those who are fenced in by ambiance or circumstances within a single genre or department of the vast realm of artistic endeavor. . . . Mr. Graham lays out his course with great clarity. . . . The author obviously knows his Shakespeare as well as he does his music and his selections are all the right ones. What makes the course really easy to handle are his indications of where to find the music discussed. In sum, Shakespeare and Music seems a better way to introduce music to non-musicians than I have yet seen, and it does it with material that is not only universal but profound." - Rudolph Fellner

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