Originally shown by the BBC as an extended special in the Later… series in 1996, A Case For Song is a much sought-after artefact among Costello fans. It marks one of his last appearances with The Attractions, alongside a solo acoustic interlude, plus performances with The Brodsky Quartet and an additional septet to further flesh out the classical motifs of his songs.
The 20-song set leans heavily on EC’s then current album, All This Useless Beauty, but there’s also reworked versions of old favourites "Pump It Up," "Veronica" and "Temptation." The Brodskys take centre stage on a subtle baroque arrangement of The Beach Boys’ "God Only Knows," Elvis even attempting a few Scott Walker histrionics along the way.
Costello and the Brodskys first collaborated three years earlier on The Juliet Letters, and the second DVD recalls how the song cycle came about, inspired by a newspaper article on an Italian academic who collected correspondence sent to Shakespeare’s doomed lovers. Considered a curio in the Costello catalogue at the time, the record went on to sell over 300,000 copies, and the film relates the singer’s huge enthusiasm for the project, ever keen to challenge both himself and his followers.