For more than a century, the Royal Shakespeare Company has commissioned music for plays. Its archive tracks the way music changes over time and across many productions.
"We look back a hundred — exactly a hundred years — and there we had Ralph Vaughan Williams, Music For Richard II from 1913," O’Neill says. "It was a beautiful start for us."
The albums too juxtapose the contemporary with older works. This year, composer Michael Bruce adapted Shakespeare’s song "Who Is Sylvia?" into an indie-rock ballad for a production of Two Gentlemen Of Verona. Listeners can compare this version with one from 1938 by Anthony Bernard.
"This is why I knew that we had to delve into the archive," O’Neill says. "Because, in 1938, that was modern. And classics only become classics after a length of time. … That’s the beauty of it. And when people are listening to Michael Bruce’s version in, say, a hundred years time, I wonder what they will think of that."