Songs You May Have Missed #587


Rufus Wainwright with Florence Welch: “When in Disgrace with Fortune and Men’s Eyes (Sonnet 29)” (2016)

I don’t know how you observed the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, but Rufus Wainwright gathered a diverse group of singers and actors to recite and sing a selection of 16 interpretations of nine of the bard’s sonnets.

Some are operatic, some experimental-sounding, some sparely arranged and others richly orchestrated. Most employ classical arrangements but a few are chamber pop pieces more approachable for the fan of more mainstream pop, such as this take on Sonnet 29 featuring Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine. Never has Elizabethan-era love poetry sounded more catchy.

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featur’d like him, like him with friends possess’d,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
For thy sweet love remember’d such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings. 

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