Before turning to the composition of comic operas, Arthur Sullivan devoted himself to serious composition. In his twenties he composed much incidental music for Shakespeare’s plays, including a set of Shakespeare songs. Of these, his ‘Orpheus with his Lute’ from Henry VIII
(Act 3, Scene 1), endearing in its grace and simplicity, is considered one of the classic settings of Shakespeare’s words.
from notes by Andrew Lamb © 2003