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Nor Youth Nor Age - Shakespeare's life and work considered through words and music at St Paul's

A special series of services and song recitals at St Paul's will celebrate the work of the world's greatest-ever playwright this September.

To mark the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth this year, every Sunday Evensong in September will see preachers consider Shakespeare’s life and work, particularly in relation to the world of faith, both in his time and now.

And following each service a series of recitals for voice and piano will present various interpretations of Shakespeare’s writing through the music of great composers, including Brahms, Tippett, Finzi, Parry and Stanford.

Entitled Nor Youth Nor Age - a line from Measure for Measure - the series which begins on Sunday 7 September will look at the Bard's questioning mind, tragedy and the Christian, the Church of England and the comedy of redemption.

Although more regularly associated with the south bank of the Thames, Shakespeare would have known St Paul’s very well. Many printers were situated outside in the Churchyard, including his old Stratford friend, Richard Field, who printed several of his early non-dramatic poems, and Shakespeare would have regularly made the journey past St Paul’s to the Stationers' Hall to have his plays registered.

The Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, Precentor of St Paul’s, and himself a Stratfordian who attended the same school as Shakespeare said: "Shakespeare bestrides the narrow world like a colossus. His colleague, Ben Jonson, said that he was ‘not of an age but for all time’. At St Paul’s, we celebrate the interaction between divine and human creativity and are looking forward to celebrating Shakespeare’s contribution to our understanding of just what makes people tick. His poetry quickens the heartbeat and helps us to confront both the tragedy and the comedy of life.”

Sunday 7 September
Shakespeare’s Questioning Mind
Evensong - 3.15pm
Address: Professor Stanley Wells CBE, Editor of the Oxford Shakespeare
Song Recital - 4.45pm
Martha McLorinan  mezzo-soprano
The Clown’s Songs from Twelfth Night  Stanford
English Lyrics (2ndset)  Parry

Blow, blow, thou winter wind  Bridge
When daffodils being to peer  Ireland


Sunday 14 September
Shakespeare, Tragedy and the Christian: Not in our Stars, but in Ourselves
Evensong - 3.15pm
Address: The Reverend Canon Mark Oakley, Chancellor, St Paul’s Cathedral
Song Recital - 4.45pm
Tim Jones  baritone
Willow song  Anon
Blow, blow, thou winter wind  Arne
Let Us Garlands Bring  Finzi
It was a lover and his lass  Morley

Sunday 21 September
Shakespeare and the Church of England
Evensong - 3.15pm
Address: Dr Alison Shell, Reader in English Literature, University College London
Song Recital - 4.45pm
Andrew Carwood  tenor
Five Shakespeare Songs  Quilter
Songs for Ariel  Tippett

Sunday 28 September
Shakespeare and the Comedy of Redemption
Evensong - 3.15pm
The Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, Precentor, St Paul’s Cathedral
Song Recital - 4.45pm
Mandy Griffin  mezzo-soprano
Ophelia-Lieder  Brahms
Seven Shakespeare Songs  Dring