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  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    


 

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This World’s Globe: Celebrating the Globe Experience
CD 1: The Play’s The Thing
Excerpts from Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Richard II and contemporary writings.
Music by Gasparo Zanetti La Montagnura [3:45]; Cesare Bendinelli, arr. LyonS Fanfare [0:45]; Clement Woodcock Hackney [2:00]; Anthony Holborne The Funerals [4:35]; Thomas Simpson Chromatic Galliard [1:36]; Holborne Galliard 12 [2:12]; Susato/ Gervaise/Lyons Torch Pavan [2:18]; John Playford Lull Me Beyond Thee [3:30]; Joan Ambrosio Dalza, arr. Lyons Piva [2:11]; John Dowland My Earl of Essex’s Galliard [3:40]; Holborne New-yeeres gift [1:14]; Anon. Paduana del mare [1:21]; Salomone Rossi Sonata Duodecima s. La Bergamasca [2:05]; Anon, arr. Lyons Fortune My Foe [1:17]; Holborne Patiencia [2:11]; Holborne Muy Linda [1:17]; William Cornish Hey, Robin [1:17]; Anon, arr. Takeuchi Hearts-ease [3:07]; Anon. Gentil Madonna [0:59]; Francisco de la Tore, arr. Lyons Adoramus te Senor [1:30]; Thoinot Arbeau, arr. Lyons Belle qui tiens ma vie [0:52]; Playford, arr. Lyons On the Cold Ground [3:17]; Tilman Susato Mille Regretz [1:08]; Susato, arr. Lyons Battle Jig [3:00]
CD 2 Groundlings to Gods
Excerpts from Edward II and Measure for Measure.
Music by Adrian Willaert Vecchie Letrose [1:33]; Thomas Morley, arr. McGowan Lavolto [2:31]; Alfonzo Ferrabosco II Sharpe Pavan [2:54]; Playford Bobbing Joan [1:13]; Holborne Almayne [1:02]; Anon. Paules Steeple [2:09]; McGowan Bonny Sweet Robin [2:08]; Giorgio Mainerio, arr. Lyons Ballo Francese &; Schiarazula Marazula [2:12]; ; Augsburg/Linz Organ Tablature, arr. Lyons:; Ungarische und auch Bauern Danntz/; Ein feines Tantzlein [2:08]; Tobias Hume A Polish Vilanell [1:58]; Santiago de Murcia Fandango [1:12]; Michael Praetorius Bransle de la Torche [1:29]; Vietoris Codex, arr. McGowan Chorea Polonica/; Alia Hungarica Chorea no. 32 [3:23]; Playford, arr. McGowan The Cushion Dance [2:45]; arr. Van Kampen/McGowan Take, O take those; Lips away [2:45]; Santiago de Murcia Jota-Tarantella [1:50]; Claudin de Sermisy Tant que vivray [2:14]; Dowland/Morley Lachrimae Pavin [4:25]; Richard Allison The Bachelor’s delight [3:40]; Hume Loves Farewell [1:56]; Byrd/Morley My Lord of Oxenfords Maske [2:55]; Hieronymus Kapsberger Vilian de Spagna [3:03]; Holborne Galliard 24 [1:39]; Peter Phillips Pavan Dolorosa [3:24]; Phillips Galliard Dolorosa [2:00]; Anon, arr. Lyons El tu tu [1:34]; Roger’s Virginals Book Mount on Horseback/; The Scot’s March [1:29]; Dowland/Johann Schoop Lachrymae Pavaen [3:55]; Roger’s Virginals Book Mount on Horseback/; Prince Rupert’s March [1:28]; Anon. Heaven and Earth [2:11]; John Merbecke In the midst of life we are in death [1:17]; Final Jig and Playout
Actors of the Globe Theatre: Philip Bird, Liam Brennan, Tom Burke, Peter Forbes, John McEnery, Mark Rylance; Musicians of the Globe Theatre, William Lyons, Keith McGowan, Belinda Sykes, Musical Directors
rec. Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, London; Duthy Hall, London; All Saints’ Church London; Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition, London - dates of recording not indicated.
SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD077 [63:49 + 78:41]


At first glance it is hard to figure out exactly what this 2 CD set contains. Is it excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays, music of the time, music used at today’s Globe? The answer is some of each. Everything heard here has some connection with The Globe.
 
The first CD, The Play’s the Thing, contains a recreation of what one would hear at the Globe today with an excerpt from one of the plays preceded and succeeded by music that is actually used in the production. There are also spoken excerpts from the time describing the theater and theater-going four hundred years ago. The whole is divided into five acts with the first organized around excerpts from Twelfth Night, the second with excerpts from several plays and the third and fifth acts centred on Richard II again. The fourth act is purely musical. All of the musical selections that surround the words are contemporary with Shakespeare and have been used in today’s productions of these plays. Authenticity is further achieved by having the selections from contemporary literature spoken in what is now known as Early Modern English or what scholarship of today thinks is the English of four hundred years ago. Add various sound effects and one can really feel as if one is entering the Globe of Shakespeare’s time.
 
The second CD, Groundlings to Gods, has a different purpose: to use music of Shakespeare’s time from all over Europe, to show different aspects of that period. The pieces are chosen to illustrate the Elizabethan’s favorite concept of Man versus the Cosmos, being divided into Music for the People, European Visitors of Influence, Royal Households, Battles and the Death of Kings.
 
However, all of the pieces on this CD have been used in performances at today’s Globe of Richard II, Twelfth Night, and Much Ado about Nothing, which last has no spoken excerpts on this disc.
 
In terms of the dramatic excerpts on these two discs, those from Richard II and Measure for Measure are taken from actual performances at the Globe. Even in excerpts, Mark Rylance’s portrayal of Richard II is one of the most poignant and penetrating that one will ever hear. Because the listener obviously cannot see him while listening one focuses totally on his voice in a way one could not do in a theatre. He is also very convincing as the Duke in Measure for Measure, although this requires a different type of dramatic approach. John McEnery, normally a fine actor, is somewhat disappointing as John of Gaunt in Richard II. Since these excerpts were taken directly from performances in the Globe, the sound is somewhat rough, but that is made up for in immediacy.
 
The other spoken excerpts from the plays and the passages from contemporary documents are all competently performed, but as can be seen from the above they were done in several different locations, with varying sonic results. They do add a lot to the overall experience of pretending to be at the Globe circa 1600 and the sound deficiencies are only a little distracting. The overall quality of the purely musical excerpts is quite good, considering that they were recorded live at the theatre and not in a recording studio.
           
Most of the music on the first disc was used for productions of Richard II and Twelfth Night.  The music of Woodcock and Holborne prepares us for the Twelfth Night excerpts which suddenly segue into the Bendinelli fanfare used for King Richard in his play. There is an apt use of Holborne’s The Funerals here. The second act uses Holborne, Susato and Dowland’s My Earl of Essex’s Gaillard to create a peaceful atmosphere suitable to John of Gaunt’s speech and excerpts from Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet. Act 3 begins somewhat slowly with more Holborne, but Bendinelli’s fanfare returns for the first of Mark Rylance’s speeches from Richard II. Act 4 has no speech, but includes a lovely arrangement and performance of Heart’s Ease by Globe lutenist Taro Takeuchi and a fine performance of Cornish’s Hey Robin. Richard II dominates Act 5 with music by Arbeau and Susato. It all ends with a quote from Francis Quarles in 1630 which sounds disturbingly like “All the world’s a stage ...”
 
On disc two the commoners get some of the best music and they include Willaert, Morley, Ferrabosco and Holborne. Ferrabosco’s Pavan and Playford’s setting of Bobbing Joan are extremely well performed and Keith McGowan's setting of Bonny Sweet Robin is beautifully played by its arranger. The section dealing with European visitors is more stately and relies more heavily on modern arrangements. Early on we get Hume’s Polish Vilanell, exquisitely played by Lyons, McGowan and several others. This is succeeded by more “popular music” from Playford before the European visitors leave to the music of Claudin de Sermisy.
 
In the third section of disc two we ascend to the “royal households” where the music is almost all of English derivation and includes the great names of Byrd, Morley, Dowland and Peter Phillips. Morley’s arrangement of Dowland’s famous Lachrimae Pavin is given probably the best music performance in the set. Not far behind is the playing of the two pieces by Phillips, showing good ensemble work among the Globe Players. Last we have ‘Battles and the Death of Kings,” mostly Edward II. Things start somewhat stolidly with the playing on The Scot’s March, but with Prince Rupert’s March things get going and continue with The Battle of Boroughbridge, before the final jig with its tromba marina.
 
The notes for this lavishly produced set are by the composer Clair van Kampen (Ms. Rylance) who is Director of Music for the Globe. She ably discusses not only the history of the new Globe, but the reasons for its existence today. Since the Globe’s opening, Ms. Van Kampen has not only created and directed the music for many of the plays performed, but has also become something of an ambassador for the Globe, both in Britain and elsewhere. William Lyons - one of the founders of the Dufay Collective - and Keith McGowan have been responsible for directing the soloists and ensembles used on these recordings. The general level of playing is not only quite good, but is produced in such a manner that music not written for stage use sounds as if it were. There are no jarring changes between “stage” and “free-standing” music. Considering that this set consists of music and speech recorded in four different places, both live and staged, there are not too many moments where the joins between these excerpts are evident. Signum’s engineers are to be congratulated on this.
 
A very informative and enjoyable set for lovers of both Shakespeare and of early music and especially of the connection between the two.
 
William Kreindler
 

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