An unusual collaboration, When Love Speaks features interpretations of William Shakespeare's sonnets and excerpts from his plays by high-profile actors and musicians. It almost goes without saying that performers such as John Gielgud, Jonathan Pryce, Diana Rigg, Ralph and Joseph Fiennes, and Susannah York give accomplished readings of the Bard's work; the musical interludes, which range from the adult alternative pop of Annie Lennox's "Live With Me and Be My Love" to Keb' Mo''s bluesy "No More Be Grieved at That Which Thou Hast Done," aren't quite as successful but add diversity. Highlights include Alan Rickman's reading of "My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like the Sun," Rufus Wainwright's "When, in Disgrace With Fortune and Men's Eyes," and Bryan Ferry's "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day." Other featured performers include Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Barbara Bonney, Tom Courtenay, and Kenneth Branagh. As a benefit album for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts -- where most of the featured actors on this album studied -- and as a tribute to Shakespeare, When Love Speaks does an admirable job of marrying high culture to pop culture.
When Love Speaks Review
by Heather Phares