British Universities Film & Video Council

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Such Sweet Thunder

Sound recording. Duke Ellington’s suite, in collaboration with Billy Strayhorn, in tribute to Shakespeare, commissioned by, and dedicated to, the Stratford (Ontario) Shakespeare Festival. It was premiered to critical acclaim on 28 April 1957 at New York City’s Town Hall. Most of the music is inspired by a particular Shakespearean character (Othello, Caesar, Henry V, for example), and most feature the work of a particular band member. The tracks are:
1. Such Sweet Thunder. 2. Sonnet For Caesar. 3. Sonnet To Hank Cinq. 4. Lady Mac. 5. Sonnet In Search Of A Moor (Jimmy Wood on bass). 6. The Telecasters. 7. Up And Down, Up And Down (I Will Lead Them Up And Down) (Puck). 8. Sonnet For Sister Kate. 9. The Star-Crossed Lovers (AKA Pretty Girl). 10. Madness In Great Ones (Hamlet). (Cat Anderson on trumpet). 11. Half The Fun (AKA Lately). 12. Circle Of Fourths. 13. The Star-Crossed Lovers (AKA Pretty Girl). 14. Circle of Fourths.
15. Suburban Beauty (Master Take). 16. A Flat Minor (Preferred Take). 17. Cafe Au Lait (Preferred Take)
18. Half The Fun (AKA Lately) (Alternate Take). 19. Suburban Beauty (Alternate Take). 20. A Flat Minor (Outtakes) 21. Cafe Au Lait (Outtakes). 22. Pretty Girl (AKA The Star-Crossed Lovers) (First Recording).
23. Bonus Track 1. Musicians performing include Cat Anderson, Russell Procope, Brit Woodman, Paul Gonsalves, Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Ray Nance and Clark Terry.
United States
Year of release
The CD is a re-mastered re-issue of the original 1950s recording. The original recording was a twelve-part work. Extracts from the album can be heard by visiting the Canadian Adaptations of Shakespeare Project (CASP) website at
jazz; Shakespeare, William (1564-1616); Stratford (Ontario) Shakespeare Festival
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Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington 

Production Company


Columbia Broadcasting System

Online Retailer


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