This album is a live recording of a concert given by the Ilja Reijngoud Quartet with Fay Claassen, in which the texts of William Shakespeare take center stage. The best-known and best-loved sonnets of Shakespeare have been set to music by Ilja with much devotion and care. Inspired by two marvelous poems from the pen of Oscar Wilde, Ilja composed two additional songs to complete this album.
Amongst his credits as a composer, Ilja won the prestigious Thelonius Monk/ BMI Award in 2003. Besides writing for both jazz and classical musicians and ensembles of international allure, (Ben van Dijk, Henri Bok, the Metropole Orchestra, the Jazz Orchestra of the Concertgebouw to name but a few), Ilja has always harbored a desire to write music for vocalists.
For many years now, Fay Claassen has been Ilja’s favorite jazz singer. The sound of her voice is unique, clear and honest. In 2006 Ilja invited her to perform five sonnets arranged for his quartet. After that first concert in Amsterdam, more performances followed (North Sea Jazz Festival 2007, theater tour 2008-2009).
Fay’s beautiful voice gives new life to Shakespeare’s texts, connecting the old literature with contemporary jazz. The quartet and Ilja’s compositions act as solder between the lyrics, building a musical frame that together with the ancient poetry forms a surprising unit.