For sustained dramatic intrigue and sophistication of plot, William Shakespeare's sonnets are at least the equal of his greatest plays. Throughout the centuries since their first publication in 1609, critics, psychologists and curiosity-seekers alike have pondered the nature of the poet's relationships with the mysterious young man, "Mr. W.H.", and the "ill-coloured" Dark lady. With or without the mystery, with or without the epic greatness of their author's other works, the sonnets would still have their place among the greatest poems ever written. Compelling, subtle, intellectually rigorous yet taut with intense emotion, each poem survives reading, study and vibrant interpretation from one generation to the next. On this recording, great contemporary actors present the entire sequence, delivering the full range and power of virtuosity, emotional power and bristling intelligence that made Shakespeare great.