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Nothing Like the Sun

Compact Disc (Audio)
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Nothing Like the Sun
Nothing Like the Sun


Recorded live in Adelaide in 2015, this album consists of Gavin Bryars' settings of Shakespeare sonnets with singers John Potter and Peyee Chen and guest artist Gavin Friday as narrator, accompanied by the Gavin Bryars Ensemble.

'Nothing Like the Sun' began life as a commission from Opera North and the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2007. At the time Bryars had already produced four books of madrigals, chiefly of Petrarch. He says: "Shakespeare's sonnets, like Petrarch's, are full of wonderful technical subtlety and although the form of the Shakespeare sonnet, with its three quatrains and a couplet, is different from Petrarch's, this enabled me to arrive at a shape for the musical setting."

"In selecting the works to set, I preferred to focus on those that are more philosophical, choosing sonnets that contrast the relative permanence of art against the impermanence of human life, that focus on ideas of memory, on the passage of time, and which, when dealing with love, do so in a more abstract way. I narrowed this down to eight sonnets: and each sonnet is set twice - first spoken within a musical accompaniment and then sung. These more abstract sonnets, reflecting as they do on concepts of impermanence and mortality, are inevitably pervaded with melancholy, a quintessentially Elizabethan quality."

It is being released in Shakespeare's 400th anniversary year when there is a great deal of focus on this event.

Personnel: Peyee Chen (soprano), John Potter (tenor), Gavin Friday (speaking voice), Anna Coleman (bass clarinet/clarinet), James Woodrow (electric/acoustic guitar), Rebecca Lagos (percussion), Roland Peelman (piano), Morgan Goff (viola), Imants Larsens (viola), Nick Cooper (cello), Gavin Bryars (double bass)


  1. Name
  2. Prologue
  3. Sonnet 60A
  4. Sonnet 60B
  5. Sonnet 123A
  6. Sonnet 123B
  7. Sonnet 128A
  8. Sonnet 128B
  9. Sonnet 94A
  10. Sonnet 94B
  11. Sonnet 102A
  12. Sonnet 102B
  13. Sonnet 146A
  14. Sonnet 146B
  15. Sonnet 55A
  16. Sonnet 55B
  17. Sonnet 64A
  18. Sonnet 64B
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