The group W. H. was formed at the initiative of cellist and composer Albert Márkos with the goal of placing the sonnets and songs of William Shakespeare in a modern musical context. The name of the project refers to a monogram, the certain Mr. W. H. to whom Shakespeare dedicated his sonnets published in printed form. The identity of this mysterious person - like the content of the sonnets themselves - is the subject of much debate to this day, but on thing is certain: in this formation, th...e verse assumes an appropriately enigmatic and exciting musical guise.
The theme of the sonnets is love, the eternal triangle, candid sexuality and everything that accompanies it; the material of the sonnets is a paradox, and so their style, too, is paradoxical. Renaissance readers had a very good ear indeed for wordplay and the way words resonate off each other; indeed, when reading they would easily spot anagrams and graphic superimpositions. For its part, in setting the sonnets to music, W. H. projects them in a way that dazzles the ears and eyes of the modern audience. For Shakespeare, double and multiple meanings are used as a vivid instrument of poetic expression, while the risqué is not a forbidden, but an absolutely desirable, creative force - just as in Hungarian Renaissance love songs or the verse of Balassi, Rimay and Gyöngyösi (and later Csokonai). Setting the poetry to music brings to life the associative structure of the text and the linguistic and rhetorical workings of the verse. Sonnets and songs in English and Hungarian, with acoustic and electronic instrumental accompaniment, are presented here on the Day of Poetry.
Presented by: Palace of Arts
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