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All the World's a Stage

All the World's a Stage

Ref: CDG1110

31 tracks 67 min
Click here to preview trk 5

Music for Williams Shakespeare

Music from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries composed for Shakespeare's plays or to celebrate his work. A wide range of instrumental sounds and some splendid singing create a fascinating programme of dynamic and cheerful English music, performed by one of Britain's leading ensembles.

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All The World's a Stage
Music for William Shakespeare

Music from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries composed for Shakespeare's plays or to celebrate his work. A wide range of instrumental sounds and some splendid singing create a fascinating programme of dynamic and cheerful English music, performed by one of Britain's leading ensembles.

Country Dances and Cotillions Charles Dibdin (1745-1814)
1 Mrs Quickly
2 As You Like It
3 The Taming of the Shrew
4 Alls Well That Ends Well

5 O Mistress Mine Thomas Morley (c.1557-1602)
6 It was a lover and his lass Thomas Morley First Book of Airs, 1600
7 Passymeasures Pavan Thomas Morley
8 Full fathom five thy father lies Robert Johnson (c. 1583-1633)
9 Where the bee sucks Robert Johnson

Suite from The Fairy Queen (1692) Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
10 Hornpipe in G minor
11 Hornpipe in D minor
12 Rondeau
13 Dance for the fairies

14 When daisies pied Thomas Arne (1710-78)
15 To Fair Fidele's grassy tomb Thomas Arne
16 Where the bee sucks Thomas Arne
17 Pavan and Galliard William Byrd
18 The Fairy Masque Anonymous
19 The First Witches Dance from the Masque of Queens (Whitehall, 1609)
20 The Second Witches Dance from the Masque of Queens
21 Heart's Ease arr. Anthony Holborne (1599)
22 Orpheus with his lute Matthew Locke (c.1621-1677)
23 Let's have a dance upon the heath Matthew Locke

Suite from The Tempest (1674) Matthew Locke
24 Curtain tune
25 Minoit
26 Second Gavot
27 A Martial Jigge
28 Lilk

29 Greensleeves to a Ground Anonymous 17th century pub.1700
30 Orpheus with his lute Thomas Chilcot (c.1700-1766)

31 Strawberry Leaves Anonymous English 17th century
A medley of English ballad tunes

Diane Terry Baroque violin and viola
Julia Black Baroque violin and viola
Michael Sanderson Tenor voice and Baroque violin
Wendy Hancock Recorder, Baroque flute and viola da gamba
Catherine Finnis Baroque 'cello and viola da gamba
Michael Overbury Harpsichord

P & C 2005 Classical Communications Ltd
Cover Image: By permission of the British Library, An Open Air Banquet from Album Amicorum of Moyses Walens 1605 Add.18991 Folio 64
Programme notes by Wendy Hancock
Made in Great Britain

All The World's a Stage
Music for William Shakespeare

The contents of this CD grew almost directly out of Musica Donum Dei's popular concert programme 'For the Love of Shakespeare'. In these live performances we sought to offer a spectrum of Shakespearean music from the very end of the 16th through to the later 18th century, together with some indication of the original dramatic contexts within which the pieces were first given. Here, we present a variety of original English song-settings and instrumental pieces from Shakespeare's own time (Morley and Johnson) through to Dibdin (1769), including some striking items composed for The Tempest by Matthew Locke, as well as a sequence of movements inspired by A Midsummer Night's Dream taken from Purcell's Fairy Queen music. We are not thorough-going purists, but believe that the spirit of the music is usually best served by adopting the most appropriate performance style for each era - viols for the early songs, 'twig' bows for the 17th-century string music, and recorders and flute where they seem most appropriate.

We begin with a set of pieces by Charles Dibdin, a multi-talented composer, instrumentalist, singer, writer, novelist and dramatist, whose task it was to compose music for the famous Shakespeare Jubilee of 1769, given in Stratford-upon-Avon. These three extraordinary days of celebration - which in the event turned out to be largely in honour of the great actor David Garrick! - contained not a single authentic line of Shakespeare, so heavily rewritten were the plays to suit 18th-century taste. But as a spin-off, Dibdin published his XII Country Dances and VI Cotillions, a set of delightful miniature character pieces whose sophistication of harmony belies their apparently fresh and naïve quality.

The next group of songs dates from Shakespeare's own time, and are thus rare examples of music which might have been heard in the original (or at least early) productions. The text of 'O Mistress Mine' comes from Twelfth Night II.3 (1602) where it is sung by the Clown. Our performance is based on the instrumental version in Thomas Morley's book of Consort Lessons (1599), where it is most likely a setting by Morley himself of an old tune, although there is a more elaborate version by Byrd in the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book. 'It was a lover and his lass ' from As you Like It (1600) is heard in Thomas Morley's version, this time from his First Book of Airs, also of 1600. 'Full fathom five thy father lies ' by Robert Johnson is set to a famous song-text sung by Ariel in The Tempest (1611) as is 'Where the bee sucks'. We include a version of the same song by Arne on a later track. Our versions substitute harpsichord for lute, but maintain the original layout of the harmony. We break up the songs with a solo harpsichord version of a 'Passymeasures pavan' - a genre mentioned in Twelfth Night V.1.

Purcell's Fairy Queen was first performed with 'Singing Dancing and Machines interwoven, after the manner of an Opera', at the Queen's Theatre, Dorset Gardens on 2 May 1692. Although loosely based on A Midsummer Night's Dream, again it contains no real Shakespeare, and certainly no authentic Shakespearean text. But the music portrays very vividly the fairy element that is quintessential to the play - a spirit we have tried to capture in this miniature suite.

The Shakespeare settings by Thomas Arne, published in 1741, are classics of their time and place, and still delightful over two and a half centuries later. Charles Burney famously described Arne's style as 'so easy, natural and agreeable…. that it had an effect upon our national taste'. We include 'When Daisies Pied' from Loves Labour's Lost (1598), 'To Fair Fidele's Grassy Tomb' from Cymbeline (1610/11), and another setting of 'Where the bee sucks' from The Tempest (1611).

For our 'Masque Set' we have begun with two of the most popular dances of Shakespeare's day by William Byrd - first a stately pavan, then a lively galliard. Both these dance-tunes are mentioned in Twelfth Night (1602). Then we compare fairies with witches in three typical 'antimasque' dances, described by Ben Jonson as a 'spectacle of strangenesse', which preceded the main masque and acted as a ''foyle, or false-Masque'. The witches' dances probably derive from the performances of Ben Jonson's Masque of Queens given at Whitehall in 1609, only three years or so after the Globe production of Macbeth (1606). The set ends with a contemporary arrangement of 'Heart's Ease', mentioned in Romeo and Juliet, act IV. Peter: 'Musicians, O musicians, Heart's ease, Heart's ease, O, an' you will have me live? Play Heart's ease'. In one of the Cambridge lute books (MS. Dd.ii.ll in the University Library) 'Hartes ease' is written at the end of the piece, on f.44r. The tune is performed here in the five-part version set by Anthony Holborne, and published in 1599 as 'The Honie-suckle'.

The Locke group begins with two Shakespeare song-settings, both published by Playford in 1673. The first, 'Orpheus with his lute', is taken from Henry VIII (1613) and the second, 'Let's have a dance upon the heath' is more loosely associated with Macbeth. These lead into a suite compiled from Locke's music for a revision of The Tempest by Thomas Shadwell as The Enchanted Island, produced for the New Dorset Garden Theatre (1674). The strikingly atmospheric 'Curtain tune' contains some of the earliest written dynamic markings, such as: 'lowder by degrees', 'lowd', and 'soft and slow by degrees'. It leads into a set of dances of great character and individuality.

The very well-known traditional tune of 'Greensleeves' certainly pre-dates Shakespeare, and is mentioned in The Merry Wives of Windsor II.1 where Mistress Page says wittily of Falstaff, comparing his disposition to the truth of his never-ending flow of words: '…they do no more adhere and keep place together than the hundred and fifty psalms to the tune of 'Greensleeves…' This anonymous version, 'Green Sleeves to a Ground', was published by John Walsh in The First Part of the Division Flute (London, 1706).

This is followed by another setting of 'Orpheus with his lute', this time by Thomas Chilcot, organist of Bath Abbey in the mid-18th century and a rival to Arne in his feeling for niceties of word-setting and instrumentation - in this case a felicitous combination of flute with pizzicato strings and continuo.

Finally, there is a freewheeling medley of popular ballad and dance tunes, taken from the mid-17th century MS collection of part-books Lbl Add. 17786-91, all probably (and in the case of 'Bonny sweet Robin' quite certainly) known to Shakespeare: Ophelia in Hamlet IV. 5, cries 'For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy…And will a not come again, And will a not come again?'
Wendy Hancock

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