Nought shall make us rue

February 16 2015

Shakespeare doesn’t mention Magna Carta in King John, which is about the king’s legitimacy, not his barons’ rights.

King John in music? I can only think of the King John overture (1941) by Castelnuovo-Tedesco, one of many that he wrote on Shakespearean themes. It takes as its motto the final words in the play, uttered by Philip the Bastard:

“This England never did, nor never shall,
Lie at the proud foot of a conqueror,
But when it first did help to wound itself.
Now these her princes are come home again,
Come the three corners of the world in arms,
And we shall shock them: Nought shall make us rue,
If England to itself do rest but true.”

Patriotic music for 1941, perhaps, but not at the level of Walton’s for Henry V of three years later. Shakespeare also wrote the greater play three years later.

Below, conducted by its dedicatee John Barbirolli, with the New York Philharmonic, presumably its premiere (unsearchable on YouTube because said to be by “traditional”). Vaughan Williams dedicated an orchestral Flourish for Glorious John to Barbirolli in 1957, but that term of endearment does not refer to anyone in Shakespeare, but to Walter Scott’s epithet for Dryden in The Pirate.

Screen Shot 2015-02-16 at 09.42.44

3 Responses to “Nought shall make us rue”

  1. davidderrick Says:

    VW’s more important dedication to Barbirolli was, of course, his eighth symphony.

  2. davidderrick Says:

    “Traditional”: just a case of metadata failure, which is the rule, not the exception, on the Internet.


  3. […] Nought shall make us rue (recent post). […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s