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REVIEWS Randy L. Neighbarger. An Outward Show: Music for Shakespeare on the London Stage, 1660-1830. Contributions to the Study of Music and Dance, 27. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1992. Pp. xxii + 318. $49.95. Randy Neighbarger's An Outward Show is a useful factual resource for scholars interested in the music performed in productions and adaptations of Shakespeare's plays from the Restoration to the early Victorian period. The body of the text is a chronological, narrative history of Shakespeare productions which employed music whether as songs, as interludes between acts, or in operatic adaptations. The book outlines changes in musical styles and conventions between 1660 and 1830 and discusses how these trends affected the incorporation of music into Shakespeare productions. Some musical scores are reproduced , and the textual apparatus includes a number of useful charts and lists which assemble much of the available information on music associated with Shakespeare productions. While many of Shakespeare's plays require music in production, the early printed quarto and folio texts do not include much specific information about what was played. Characters in plays of all genres sing songs or call for music, and there are numerous cues for instrumental music in the lines of the plays. For example, The Tempest associates music with magic at many points, and in The Winter's Tale Paulina calls for music just before the statue comes to life. While traditional tunes are known for some of the songs included in Shakespeare's plays, no scores for the music played during the first productions of Shakespeare plays are known to exist. While Neighbarger's focus is theatrical music from 1660 to 1830, he opens with a brief discussion of what was known at the Restoration about the music of early Shakespeare productions. When, in 1660, two London theaters opened after eighteen years during which theatrical productions had been officially proscribed, many of the plays of the Jacobean and Caroline periods were revived and adapted. However, these revivals took place in a new context since early seventeenth-century theatrical and musical conventions were no longer familiar to performers and audiences. Also, some of the courtiers who supported the London theaters had spent the interregnum in France, where they had been introduced to continental conventions of theatrical and musical performance. Neighbarger discusses the interaction of English and European musical influences in theatrical productions of the Restoration and traces changing fashions in the way music was used. He notes that in the late seventeenth century songs were 394 Reviews395 sometimes omitted from the plays themselves, although musical interludes were often played between the acts. By the early eighteenth century , music was more central to the performance of Shakespeare, and operatic adaptations of some of the plays began to be performed. Neighbarger , tracing a complex history of operatic Shakespeare production from the early eighteenth century to the 1830's, discusses various forms of Italianate opera, English ballad opera, and comic opera with a focus on the musical scores. During this period there were few productions of Shakespeare's plays which were not adapted or revised, and these operatic productions are significant in the stage history of Shakespeare. Aside from operatic Shakespeare music, Neighbarger's other main interest in this work is the extensive body of non-operatic vocal musical settings composed for the songs in Shakespeare plays as well as for other lyric passages such as sonnets. Popular lyric pieces from Shakespeare's plays were performed not only in stage productions but as afterpieces, in concerts and in the home. Neighbarger pays close attention to the works of the prolific composer Thomas Arne the younger, whose music for Drury Lane Theatre's Shakespeare productions in the 1740's had a strong influence for the following fifty years. Some of Henry Bishop's compositions and adaptations from the early nineteenth century are also still known. The publication of simplified scores of some of this music helped make some tunes by Ame, Bishop, and other contemporary composers so familiar that they became accepted as "traditional" in later performances of the plays. The extensive apparatus of An Outward Show, like the body of the text, contains a large amount of factual information. The...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1936-1637
Print ISSN
0010-4078
Pages
pp. 394-397
Launched on MUSE
2016-10-05
Open Access
No
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