Romance, with a happy or a sad ending, has been the stimulus for poets and novelists from the earliest times to the present day, but the expression of feelings of love are very varied. After all, there are so many kinds of romance.
There is the restrained romance as found in Jane Austen, for love had to be expressed through manners and convention. There is the awakening of passion and private feelings as DH Lawrence portrays in The Virgin and the Gypsy when a young girl shivers with new emotions. Charles Dickens places love against personal sacrifice and regained honour in A Tale of Two Cities, one of his most affecting stories. Shaw draws a very different picture of attraction in Pygmalion, when Eliza Doolittle and Professor Henry Higgins jostle around feelings they cannot even admit to!
Haruki Murakami, writing in our own time, place no moral curbs on his characters in Norwegian Wood, but love and commitment is beset by more convoluted psychological webs as Japanese students from the 1960s search for meaning.
But none of these writers are as concise as William Shakespeare, who in the 14 lines of his sonnets provides an incisive insight into human behaviour and expectations; and in A Midsummer Night’s Dream has lovers of all kinds getting into a tangle with spells.
As Shakespeare himself knew, music can say it all so directly, and when woven with poetry as in the pair of CDs, A Lover’s Gift, we have the perfect Valentine’s gift.