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Poul Ruders

Publisher: Edition Wilhelm Hansen

Shakespeare Songs (2005)
Work Notes
til Det Kgl. Kapel og Hanne Fischer. 6/2005: PR skriver yderligere 2 sange, ny titel bliver: Shakespeare Songs
Text Writer
Wilhelm Hansen
Soloist(s) and Orchestra
Year Composed
19 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s)
mezzo soprano
Programme Note
Poul Ruders Shakespeare Songs (2005)
Three Sonnets for mezzo soprano and orchestra


Texts by William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

I. Music to Hear
II. Lordling’s Daughter
III. Threnos

Music to Hear

Music to hear, why hear’s thou music sadly?
Sweet with sweets war not, joy delights in joy.
Why lov’st thou that which thou receiv’st not gladly,
Or else receiv’st with pleasure thine annoy?

If the true concord of well-tuned sounds,
By unions married, do offend thine ear,
They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds
In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear.

Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,
Strikes each in each by mutual ordering,
Resembling sire and child and happy mother,
Who, all in one, one pleasing note do sing;

Whose speechless song being many, seeming one,
Sings this to thee: “Thou single wilt prove none.”

From Sonnet no. 8 from 154 Sonnets, 1609

Lordling’s Daughter

It was lordling’s daughter, the fairest one of three,
That liked of her master as well as well might be,
Till looking on an Englishman, the fair’st that eye could see,
He fancy fell a-turning

Long was the combat doubtful that love with love did fight,
To leave the master loveless, or kill the gallant knight:
To put in practice either, alas, it was a spite
Unto the silly damsel!

But one must be refused: more mickly was the pain
That nothing could be used to turn them both to gain,
For of the two the trusty knight was wounded with disdain:
Alas, she could not help it!

Thus art with arms contending was victor of the day,
Which by a gift of learning did bear the maid away:
Then, lullaby, the learned man halth got the lady gay;
For now my song is ended

From Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music, No. 1, 1599


Beauty, truth, and rarity,
Grace in all simplicity,
Here, enclosed, in cinders lie.

Death is now the phoenix’ nest
And the turtle’s loyal breast
To eternity doth rest,

Leaving no posterity:
‘Twas not their infirmity,
It was married chastity

Truth may seem, but cannot be:
Beauty brag, but ‘tis not she;
Truth and beauty buried be.

To this urn let those repair
That are either true or fair
For these dead birds (sigh) a prayer

From The Phoenix and The Turte, no. 2, 1601.

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