Tre Canti di Ariel

for SATB choir

Rob Keeley

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for SATB choir

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Composer Rob Keeley

Year of Composition


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Catalogue ID ce-rk1tcda1


For Shakespeare’s 400th I dearly wanted to write a celebration, but was reluctant to attempt words that had been already set many times before. Then in a charity shop in Penge, I came across ‘Tutte le Opere’ and was immediately entranced by these Italian versions by G.S. Gargàno, tantalisingly familiar yet transformed, and imagined, as it were, through differently coloured glass.

I then imagined what an Italian composer of Shakespeare’s time would have made of these three songs of Ariel from The Tempest, while there’s no hint of pastiche, early baroque or otherwise (the idiom is, I hope, wholly mine).

I tried to capture their mysterious and elusive quality that continues to haunt us. I also thought it would be fun for the singers to compare these translations, and especially their different sounds with the more familiar originals. And of course, Shakespeare’s own affinity for things Italian hardly needs emphasising.

The first performance of Tre Canti di Ariel was given by the choir of King’s College, London, conducted by Joe Fort on June 18th 2017 at King’s Place.