Sunday, April 22, 2012

Song Chain: Cymbeline

Loreena McKennitt: Cymbeline


Have you ever played Word Association? It’s the game where one person says a word, and the next player has to say the first word that comes into their head. The results can be funny, revealing, or just wonderfully odd. This week, we will be playing a musical version of that game, and forming a song chain. Each song will have something, anything at all, to do with the last one. To start off, here is the first song that came to mind when I saw Mt Vernon Mike’s post of The Reduced Merle Haggard.

So how did I get to Loreena McKennitt from Merle Haggard? Mike mentioned Shakespeare. Now, if I were normal, I would have posted Romeo and Juliet. But no, I had to think of one of the Bard’s most obscure plays. Cymbeline can only be regarded as a history if you regard the work of Geoffrey of Monmouth as being more historical than folkloric. In any case, it is clear that Shakespeare expanded the plot of Cymbeline with material that came not from Geoffrey at all, but rather from the Bard’s own mind. Loreena McKennitt uses Shakespeare’s own words from near the end of the play as the text for her song. The result is a beautiful lament for a pair of doomed young lovers.

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