Jamestown RI Community Chorus

Great Choral Singing Since 1949

Shakespeare’s Words

A member of the chorus researched the context of the texts used in our upcoming concert “Brush Up Your Shakespeare.”

For example, “If Music be the Food of Love,” is set by David Dickau. Only the first line is from Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, II, i: Orsino, Duke of Illyria, woos Olivia in vain and opens the play saying,

If music be the food of love, play on,

Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,

The appetite may sicken and so die.

Quite the opposite of Dickau’s text, attributed to one Col. Henry Heveningham, set most famously by Henry Purcell in the 1690’s, more than 85 years after Twelfth Night.


“Full Fathom Five” is from The Tempest, I, ii – This song is sung by the spirit Ariel (at this point invisible to all but his master Prospero) to lure shipwreck-survivor Ferdinand to where Prospero’s daughter Miranda is waking. (BTW, Ferdinand’s father Alonso, King of Naples, is not lying five fathoms but is wandering elsewhere on this magical isle.)


This entry was posted on January 26, 2015 by .
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