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Challenge Songs of the English Restoration Theater (1660–1715): A No-Deadline Fanfic Challenge!

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Findswoman, Apr 22, 2018.

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  1. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    If music be the food of love,
    Sing on, till I am fill’d with joy;
    For then my list’ning soul you move
    To pleasures that can never cloy.
    Your eyes, your mien, your tongue declare
    That you are music ev’rywhere…


    Welcome to the Songs of the English Restoration Theater Challenge!

    Now, at this point, you may be asking yourself, “wait, what the actual kriff/kark/Bogan/San Hill is a ‘Song of the English Restoration Theater,’ anyway?! Is this one of those crazy, esoteric Finds things?”

    Well, the answer to the second question is a resounding “yes,” of course. :p As to the first, the English Restoration was the period roughly from 1660 to about 1715, beginning with the restoration of the English monarchy under Charles II (r. 1660–85) following the Protectorate (or Commonwealth, or Interregnum) period, during which Oliver Cromwell had ruled England as Lord Protector. The Restoration period saw an immense flowering of literature, drama, and music; stage plays of the period were customarily interspersed with a colorful of variety songs and instrumental pieces by London’s best composers, and many of the city’s star actors were also star singers.

    Thus the gloomy world
    At first began to shine,
    And from the power divine
    A glory round about it hurl'd...


    So yes, I have gathered together twenty songs from this era as prompts for us writers. All of them were composed by two of the period’s finest composers, Henry Purcell (1659–95) and John Eccles (1668–1735). All have texts in English, and while a few feature moments of minor sexual entendre, all are compliant with the TOS. The wide range of themes include love (requited and unrequited), war, peace, fate, ambition, magic, madness, and an occasional touch of humor. They vary widely in length, some taking only a couple minutes to perform, some five or six. You are welcome to use them, their texts, and their music as prompts in whatever way you want, as long as it’s in keeping with the TOS.

    ’Twas pride hot as hell
    That first made me rebel,
    From love’s awful throne, a cursed angel I fell…


    Here’s how to play:
    • Choose a number between 1 and 20, and post your choice in this thread.
    • Within this thread, I’ll provide with the title and lyrics of your song, along with a video for each for your listening pleasure. (And definitely do listen—this is incredibly gorgeous music.)
    • Write a story inspired in some way by the song. When it’s done, post a link here, and I’ll add it to the index.
    • After you’re done with your song, you are welcome to ask for another, if there are still songs available.
    • If your song isn’t inspining you, you are welcome to exchange it for another, if there are still songs available.
    • There is no deadline.
    • Ad-hoc, unofficial entries are welcome, too, if anyone feels so inclined; I’ll put them in their own section of the index.
    • Both SW and non-SW fanfic is welcome.
    A quick word about the videos/recordings: For most of these songs, there are many videos available, and you are of course welcome to search for more and use whichever ones you wish as sources of inspiration.

    I attempt from love's sickness to fly in vain,
    Since I am myself my own fever and pain...

    As always, you are welcome to ask me any questions you may have about these pieces, their text, or their music. @};-

    Enjoy, and...

    Music for a while
    Shall all your cares beguile.


    * * *​

    Challenge Index
    1. Haste, give me wings (Eccles)—Chyntuck
    2. If music be the food of love (Purcell)—divapilot
    3.
    4.
    5. Dido's Lament (Purcell)—GregMcP: Dido and Aeneas: A Star Wars Story
    6.
    7. Bess of Bedlam (Purcell)—Ewok Poet
    8. I'll sail upon the Dog Star (Purcell)—mavjade
    9. If love's a sweet passion (Purcell)—Mistress_Renata
    10. Thus the gloomy world at first began to shine (Purcell)—SiouxFan
    11. O lead me to some peaceful gloom (Purcell)—WarmNyota_SweetAyesha: Lost, Then Found!
    12.
    13. What can we poor females do (Purcell)—JediMaster_Jen
    14.
    15. Let ambition fire thy mind (Eccles)—Raissa Baiard: All the Joy, but Not The Care
    16. I attempt from love's sickness to fly (Purcell)—WarmNyota_SweetAyesha: this entry of I Carry Your Heart (NSW: Star Trek)
    17. O solitude (Purcell)—TheRynJedi
    18. Ye twice ten hundred deities (Purcell)—Mira_Jade
    19. Sweeter than roses (Purcell)—Findswoman: Since that dear kiss...
    20. Love is an empty, airy name (Eccles)—Mira_Jade: Of Air, Of Flame (NSW: Avatar: The Last Airbender)

    Ad-hoc/unofficial Entries

    If music be the food of love (Purcell)—WarmNyota_SweetAyesha: Could There Be Any Doubt
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019
  2. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Sep 10, 2005
    I have such a huge list of unfinished challenge fics, but this is just too intriguing to pass up! Can I have 8 please?
     
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  3. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    You got it, @mavjade! Your song is the whimsical and spunky "I'll sail upon the Dog Star" by Henry Purcell. Here are the lyrics:

    I'll sail upon the Dog Star,
    And then pursue the morning,
    I'll chase the moon 'till it be noon,
    But I'll make her leave her horning.

    I'll climb the frosty mountain,
    And there I'll coin the weather;
    I'll tear the rainbow from the sky,
    And tie both ends together.

    The stars pluck from their orbs, too,
    And crowd them in my budget!
    And whether I'm a roaring boy,
    Let all the nation judge it!

    And here is a video, featuring Rogers Covey-Crump, tenor, performing with the Academy of Ancient Music (cond. Christopher Hogwood):



    Have fun! :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
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  4. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    oh no. This is bringing back memories of the Diva-son singing his classical repertoire. I don't have the time, but ...
    ... :confused:
    .....:rolleyes:
    ...[face_shame_on_you]
    .....:-B
    ... I'll take number 2, please.:D
     
  5. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
  6. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    #11, please? And thanks @Findswoman -- I am an Anglophile and music inspires me especially when I can make it couplistically mushy [face_laugh] @};-
     
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  7. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    May I have #15 please? Because I totally need more challenges:D
     
  8. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    All righty doo! Time to hand out some songs...

    * * *​

    @divapilot, you have received one of the suavest, sultriest songs on this list: Purcell's "If music be the food of love." Only the first line and a half of text is the same as the famous Shakespeare monologue that starts with the same words; the rest is different, but still super gorgeous, I think. [face_love] Here are lyrics:

    If music be the food of love,
    Sing on till I am fill’d with joy;
    For then my list’ning soul you move
    To pleasures that can never cloy.
    Your eyes, your mien, your tongue declare
    That you are music ev’rywhere.

    Pleasures invade both eye and ear,
    So fierce the transports are, they wound,
    And all my senses feasted are,
    Tho’ yet the treat is only sound,
    Sure I must perish by your charms,
    Unless you save me in your arms.

    And a recording, featuring soprano Emma Kirkby with the Academy of Ancient Music (cond. Christopher Hogwood):



    * * *​

    Congratulations, @Ewok Poet, you have received the first mad song in the challenge: Purcell's "Bess of Bedlam," a lengthy monologue by a young woman driven mad by the loss of her love (Bedlam was the nickname of a contemporary mental hospital, Bethlehem Royal Hospital). Songs by mad characters—usually either driven mad by love or under the spell of witchcraft—were incredibly popular on the Restoration stage; they are some of the most expressive theater songs of the period, featuring sudden emotional transitions and some of the most daring and difficult musical language to be found in music of the time. Here are lyrics (this one's long, just by way of warning):

    From silent shades and the Elysian groves
    Where sad departed spirits mourn their loves
    From crystal streams and from that country where
    Jove crowns the fields with flowers all the year,
    Poor senseless Bess, cloth'd in her rags and folly,
    Is come to cure her lovesick melancholy.

    "Bright Cynthia kept her revels late
    While Mab, the Fairy Queen, did dance,
    And Oberon did sit in state
    When Mars at Venus ran his lance.

    In yonder cowslip lies my dear,
    Entomb'd in liquid gems of dew;
    Each day I'll water it with a tear,
    Its fading blossom to renew.

    For since my love is dead and all my joys are gone,
    Poor Bess for his sake
    A garland will make,
    My music shall be a groan.

    I'll lay me down and die within some hollow tree,
    The rav'n and cat,
    The owl and bat
    Shall warble forth my elegy.

    Did you not see my love as he pass'd by you?
    His two flaming eyes, if he comes nigh you,
    They will scorch up your hearts: Ladies beware ye,
    Les he should dart a glance that may ensnare ye!

    Hark! Hark! I hear old Charon bawl,
    His boat he will no longer stay,
    And furies lash their whips and call:
    Come, come away, come, come away.

    Poor Bess will return to the place whence she came,
    Since the world is so mad she can hope for no cure.
    For love's grown a bubble, a shadow, a name,
    Which fools do admire and wise men endure.

    Cold and hungry am I grown.
    Ambrosia will I feed upon,
    Drink Nectar still and sing."
    Who is content,
    Does all sorrow prevent?
    And Bess in her straw,
    Whilst free from the law,
    In her thoughts is as great, great as a king.

    And a video, also with Emma Kirkby:



    * * *​

    @WarmNyota_SweetAyesha, I definitely think you can get some couplicious potential out of yours: you've received "O lead me to some peaceful gloom," which is all about escaping from the turmoils of war to a quiet place conducive to the joys of love. Here are lyrics:

    O lead me to some peaceful gloom,
    Where none but sighing lovers come,
    Where the shrill trumpets never sound,
    But one eternal hush goes round.

    There let me soothe my pleasing pain,
    And never think of war again.
    What glory can a lover have,
    To conquer, yet be still a slave?

    And a recording featuring soprano Nancy Argenta:



    * * *​

    @Raissa Baiard, you have received Eccles's "Let ambition fire thy mind." This, unlike many of the other songs in this challenge, is actually from an fully through-sung opera rather than a stage play: Eccles's opera The Judgment of Paris, based on the story of Paris from classical mythology. It is sung by the goddess Juno, who promises Paris, at this point living as a shepherd, political power and princely dominion if he will choose her as the most beautiful of the three goddesses. After she sings, a chorus comes in and repeats the words of her first strophe. Here are lyrics:

    Let ambition fire thy mind,
    Thou wert born o’er men to reign,
    Not to follow flocks designed,
    Scorn thy crook, and leave the plain.

    Crowns I’ll throw beneath thy feet,
    Thou on necks of kings shalt tread,
    Joys in circles joys shall meet,
    Which way e’er thy fancies lead.

    Let not toils of empire fright,
    Toils of empire pleasures are;
    Thou shalt only know delight,
    All the joy, but not the care.

    Shepherd, if thou’lt yield the prize,
    For the blessings I bestow,
    Joyful I’ll ascend the skies,
    Happy thou shalt reign below.

    And a recording, featuring mezzo-soprano Susan Bickley, performing with the orchestra and chorus of the Early Opera Company (cond. Christian Curnyn). One funny thing about this video: it shows as being 6 or so minutes long, but the actual song is actually over at about 3:32 (the rest, as they say, is silence).


     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
  9. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Thank you. <3 I will have some fun with this, for sure! :D
     
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  10. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Argh! I don't need another challenge!! But I am dying of curiosity as to what incredible songs you've come up with (mmm, Purcell!)
     
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  11. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Ah, well, you can see some examples just above—so far I have handed out five in all. :) Purcell has long been one of my personal favorites too, which is part of what led me to this challenge to begin with. As to the challenge itself, you're of course more than welcome to take a number and just keep it "in the pocket" for later, since after all there is no deadline. Put another way: you know you want to... ;)
     
  12. divapilot

    divapilot Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 30, 2005
    I keep reading that name as Purell. :p
     
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  13. JediMaster_Jen

    JediMaster_Jen Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Oh, @Findswoman , I really should pass this up.[face_not_talking] But I cannot! May I have lucky #13 please?
     
  14. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] These challenges are like being in a chocolate factory. [face_laugh] How CAN YOU NOT? [face_love] @Mira_Jade would also find this enchanting. [face_batting] [face_dancing]
     
  15. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Yeah, I knew you'd say that! [face_laugh] All right, #9 seems to be calling me...
     
  16. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Okeyday, ask and thou shalt receive! Twofer time... :D

    * * *​

    @JediMaster_Jen, you got "What can we poor females do" by Henry Purcell, which is about, well, pretty much exactly what the first line suggests. :p Here are lyrics:

    What can we poor females do
    When pressing, teasing lovers sue?
    What can we poor females do?
    Fate affords no other way,
    But denying or complying.
    What can we poor females do
    When pressing, teasing lovers sue?
    What can we poor females do?
    And relenting, or consenting,
    Does alike our hopes betray.
    What can we poor females do
    When pressing, teasing lovers sue?
    What can we poor females do?

    A recording, with soprano Jāma Jandroković accompanied by Jory Vinikour on harpsichord:



    * * *​

    @Mistress_Renata, you have received "If love's a sweet passion," also by Purcell and from The Fairy Queen, his incidental music to an adapted version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. This one features both a solo singer and chorus, the former singing the first half and the latter singing the second half. Here are lyrics:

    If love's a sweet passion, why does it torment?
    If a bitter, oh tell me, whence comes my content?
    Since I suffer with pleasure, why should I complain,
    Or grieve at my fate, when I know 'tis in vain?
    Yet so pleasing the pain, so soft is the dart,
    That at once it both wounds me, and tickles my heart.

    I press her hand gently, look languishing down,
    And by passionate silence I make my love known.
    But oh! I'm blest when so kind she does prove,
    By some willing mistake to discover her love.
    When in striving to hide, she reveals all her flame,
    And our eyes tell each other, what neither dares name.

    This recording features Helen Parker, soprano, with the orchestra and chorus of the Scholars Baroque Ensemble (cond. David van Asch):



    * * *​

    Enjoy, and happy writing! :D
     
  17. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    SQUEE OUT LOUD Loud. Renata's is so H/L or Kanera. [face_dancing] [face_love]

    ----------

    ETA:
    My entry is up
    Lost Then Found
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
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  18. Mistress_Renata

    Mistress_Renata Manager Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Sep 9, 2000
    Actually, considering the singer is female and the love referred to in the lyrics is female, I suppose it could be Aphra and someone!!! :cool: Hmm... H/L seems so obvious... but there are possibilities...
     
  19. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    The funny thing is, in songs for stage plays at this period, the singer’s sex (or singers’ sexes, in case of ensembles or a chorus) don’t necessarily reflect anything about the “persona” of the song or of the people on stage. Oftentimes a character on stage would just be pantomiming while someone else sang the song in the background. In the case of your song, Renata, it was part of a little play-within-a-play type thing performed while Queen Titania and the transformed Bottom are cuddling with each other, with the objective of getting everyone in the mood for lovin', kind of. :p But really, anything pretty much goes. ;)
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
  20. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    It's interesting that there is a mention of actual Charon in my song and I have an OC I named Charon, so there wouldn't be another Talon!
     
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  21. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    Eek! I already have way too many of these challenges I need to finish writing for, so what's one more to add to the list? ;) This is a fascinating, well researched challenge - I'm enjoying just reading the blurbs on everyone's selections so far, and can't wait to see what inspiration may come! [face_thinking]

    I'll take that lonely looking number 20 down at the bottom! If you please, Finds! [face_batting]
     
  22. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    You got it, @Mira_Jade! Your song is "Love is an empty, airy name" by John Eccles; this one is short, epigrammatic, cautionary song against falling too deeply in love. Here's the text:

    Love is an empty airy name,
    A word in course and fashion;
    ’Tis something worse creates the flame,
    And money moves the passion.
    Then Celia don’t expose your charms,
    And lavish all your beauty;
    Who ever lies within those arms,
    Where all is thought but duty?

    And here's a recording, with Carolyn Sinclair, soprano:


    Enjoy, and glad to have you on board! :)
     
  23. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    So, apologies for the double post, but: a few days ago I used a random number generator to come up with a prompt for myself, and I got no. 19, Purcell's gorgeously sultry "Sweeter than roses":

    Sweeter than roses, or cool evening breeze
    On a warm flowery shore, was the dear kiss,
    First trembling made me freeze,
    Then shot like fire all o'er.
    What magic has victorious love!
    For all I touch or see since that dear kiss,
    I hourly prove, all is love to me.

    A recording with the one and only, truly inimitable Emma Kirkby, who, as you have probably seen and heard, is a whiz at this repertoire: Changing the video, as that one only (for some reason) goes through "made me freeze", and is really super quiet. This one features the also awesome Sylvia McNair.


     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2018
  24. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host Who Loves Fanfics & RPGs star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    HAPPIEST WRIGGLES Mira and finds! =P~ =D=
     
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  25. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Same as mav: a huge list of unwritten prompts and zero time to write right now, but I need to try this. Can I please have #1?