Phoenix Favourites – The Cloud Capp’d Towers

The popular vote by current and former choir members for their all time favourite choral pieces – Number TenĀ  -The Cloud-Capp’d Towers

The Cloud-Capp’d Towers is the second piece from the work written in 1951 by Ralph Vaughan Williams called Three Shakespeare Songs. The work comprises three short pieces which are settings of text from two plays by the English playwright William Shakespeare. The piece uses lines from The Tempest, spoken by the sorcerer Prospero to conclude the masque at the wedding of his daughter Miranda to Prince Ferdinand. The characters, Prospero announces, will all fade away, and this play within a play itself becomes a metaphor for the transience of real life, the globe symbolising both the World and the Globe Theatre in London.

The Tempest, Act IV scene 1
The Cloud-Capp’d Towers

The cloud-capp’d towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind: We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.

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