Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets

Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets

by Rufus WainwrightRufus Wainwright


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Not the singer/songwriter's first foray into Shakespeare, Rufus Wainwright's Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets offers an ambitious mix of accompanied readings, opera, and chamber pop to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Bard's death (its release date falls a day early). Three of the included sonnets appeared on Wainwright's 2010 LP All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu but are rearranged and newly recorded here. Helena Bonham Carter, Carrie Fisher, Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine, and, most frequently, opera singer Anna Prohaska are among several celebrated guests on the 16-track set, which provides two interpretations of most of the poems. The album opens with a reading of "Sonnet 43" by Welsh actress and singer Siân Phillips over quietly percussive electronics, before approaching the same poem as a graceful, fully realized aria with Prohaska and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. It's not until the third track, "Take All My Loves (Sonnet 40)," that we hear Wainwright himself sing, and it's an electro-symphonic, avant-garde pop song that also features an inserted recitation by English musician/producer Marius de Vries. In fact, those hoping to hear not only Wainwright's compositions but also his voice will have to make due with just three tunes and some supporting appearances. A highlight among his pop songs and of the album is "A Woman's Face (Reprise) (Sonnet 20)," a wistful ballad reworked from All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu, in which Shakespeare expresses deep affection for another man. Elsewhere, droning guitar and rock drums are punctuated with strings on "Unperfect Actor (Sonnet 23)," which sees the musician joined by his sister Martha Wainwright, Fiora Cutler (aka Fiora), and actress Helena Bonham Carter, the latter in a spoken intro. Florence Welch takes the lead on the mellifluous, tropics-infused "When in Disgrace with Fortune and Men's Eyes (Sonnet 29)," and none other than William Shatner delivers a dramatic, highly edited performance of "Sonnet 129." In a Kurt Weill-esque cabaret entry, "Sonnet 66" is read and sung in German by Jürgen Holtz, Christopher Nell, and Wainwright, with electric guitar, piano, and strings accompaniment. While fans of either persuasion should note that the collection has as much strictly classical material as it does chamber pop, altogether the album presents a compelling, balanced mix of many manner of vocal performance. Arriving on the heels of a recording of his first opera, the French-language Prima Donna, Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets reaffirms that the songwriter/composer is an arranger at home in many styles, with the ability to make this kind of sprawling, genre-surfing project unfold with elegance.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/22/2016
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
UPC: 0028947955085
catalogNumber: 002476402
Rank: 112167


  1. Sonnet 43
  2. When Most I Wink (Sonnet 43)
  3. Take All My Loves (Sonnet 40)
  4. Sonnet 20
  5. A Woman's Face (Sonnet 20)
  6. For Shame (Sonnet 10)
  7. Sonnet 10
  8. Unperfect Actor (Sonnet 23)
  9. Sonnet 29
  10. When in Disgrace with Fortune and Men's Eyes (Sonnet 29)
  11. Sonnet 129
  12. Th'Expense of Spirit in a Waste of Shame (Sonnet 129)
  13. All Dessen Müd (Sonnet 66)
  14. A Woman's Face - Reprise (Sonnet 20)
  15. Sonnet 87
  16. Farewell (Sonnet 87)

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rufus Wainwright   Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals
William Shatner   Recitation
Marius de Vries   Synthesizer,Keyboards,Recitation
Gary Novak   Drums
Joel Shearer   Guitar
Martha Wainwright   Vocals
Siân Phillips   Recitation
Chris Chaney   Bass
BBC Symphony Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Helena Bonham Carter   Recitation
Hans-Jörn Brandenburg   Piano
Frally Hynes   Recitation
Florence + the Machine   Vocals
Fiora Cutler   Vocals
Nicholai Baxter   Acoustic Guitar
Jayce Ogren   Conductor
Jurgen Holtz   Vocals
Anna Prohaska   Vocals
Graham Bradshaw   Cello
Peter Eyre   Recitation
Carrie Fisher   Recitation
Ben De Vries   Background Vocals
Dom Bouffard   Guitar
Stefan Rager   Percussion,Drums
Kreeta-Julia Heikkilä   Concert Master
Ralph Graessler   Bass
Christopher Nell   Vocals
Inge Keller   Recitation
Berlin String Section   String Quartet

Technical Credits

Marius de Vries   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Andrew Keener   Producer
Rufus Wainwright   Composer,Producer,Executive Producer,Orchestration,Concept,Cover Illustration
William Shakespeare   Composer,Text
Eldad Guetta   Programming,Engineer
Brett Shaw   Engineer
Rainer Maillard   Engineer
Borza Ghomeshi   Engineer
Justin Moshkevich   Engineer
Susan Thomas   Engineer
Timothy Cummings   Paintings
Nicholai Baxter   Engineer
Ann McKay   Producer
Philip Rothman   Orchestration
Robert Wilson   Concept
Peter Eyre   Liner Notes
Paula Quijano   Management
Ben De Vries   Composer,Programming,Engineer
Dom Bouffard   Arranger
Philip Krause   Engineer
Renaud Loranger   Executive Producer
Christa Schuenke   Text Translation

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