Sonnet (Shaksper) by J.B.W. To Barbara Beck, Burgess's setting for soprano and piano of Shakespeare's sonnet 116 (Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments.)

Scope and Content

Handwritten by Burgess and inscribed "John B. Wilson".

Administrative / Biographical History

In the early 1950s, while living in Oxfordshire, Burgess and his first wife, Lynne, and John and Barbara Beck were neighbours and friends. Burgess composed a setting of Shakespeare's sonnet 116 for Barbara Beck's birthday on 18 March 1951.

Burgess's composition was premiered at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation on 26 November 2014 at an event called "Love is Not Love...' A concert of music inspired by Shakespeare". The work was performed by Zoe Milton-Brown (soprano) and Ben Powell (piano) alongside music by Finzi (from Let Us Garlands Bring), Argento (from Six Elizabethan Songs) and Quilter (Three Shakespeare Songs).

Conditions Governing Access

Available to researchers in consultation with the Archivist due to the condition of the item.

Alternative Form Available

A copy of this score has been made and is filed alongside the original score.

Physical Characteristics and/or Technical Requirements

Foxing and tears to the manuscript.

Custodial History

The sonnet remained in Barbara Beck's possession until her death and it was subsequently offered to the International Anthony Burgess Foundation by John Beck in 2013.