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Classical 101

Three Musical Works for Poetry Month on Symphony @ 7

William Shakespeare inspired several works by Peter Tchaikovsky.

Since April is Poetry Month, I'll have three musical works with connections to literature on the next Symphony @ 7 on Classical 101.

Peter Tchaikovsky loved the works of William Shakespeare and wrote several symphonic poems inspired by his plays. The Tempest, Symphonic Fantasy, Op. 18 was written in 1873 and is a 21 minute musical impression of Shakespeare's late masterpiece, similar in form to the more familiar Romeo and Juliet.


The young American composer Mohammed Fairouz wrote a four-part orchestral song-cycle called Audenesque.  The first three songs are inspired by W. H. Auden's In Memory of W. B. Yeats, mourning the loss of one of the giants of 20th century literature.  The final song is a setting of Audenesque by Irish poet Seamus Heaney.

Audenesque, on the new recording by Fairouz from DG, titled Follow, Poet, features mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey and the Ensemble LPR conducted by Evan Rogister.  The song-cycled is preceded by a short excerpt from a speech given by John F. Kennedy in 1963:

"When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations.  When power narrows the areas of of man's concerns, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence.  When power corrupts, poetry cleanses." 

The final work on the program is The Muse and the Poet, from 1910, for violin, cello and orchestra by French composer Camille Saen-Saens.  The title was apparently added by the publisher from the idea of the violin as the inspirational muse and the cello as the poet.

Join me this evening for Symphony @ 7 here on Classical 101 for some poetically-inspired music.