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Songs for William Shakespeare

Songs for William Shakespeare

Ref: CDG1006

29 tracks 65 min
Click here to preview trk 11

The finest songs from Shakespeare's plays, from Johnson's arrangement of 'Where the bee sucks' in 'The Tempest' to Morley's famous version of Feste's song 'O mistress mine', from 'Twelfth Night'. Carefully researched and played on instruments of the period.

Price    9.99

More Information

1. Where the Bee Sucks
The Tempest Robert Johnson (c.1583-1633)
2. Kemp's Jig
3. O Mistress Mine
Twelfth Night Thomas Morley (1557-1602)
4. Light of Love
5. Take, O Take Those Lips Away
Measure for Measure John Wilson (1595-1674)
6. It Was a Lover and his Lass
As You Like It Thomas Morley (1557-1602)
7. Callinoe
8. Full Fathom Five
The Tempest Robert Johnson (c.1583-1633)
9. Passamezzo Pavan
10. Farewell, Dear Love
Twelfth Night Robert Jones (1597-1615)
11. Greensleeves
12. The Poor Soul Sat Sighing (The Willow Song)
Othello Anonymous
13. Sink a Pace
14. Hark, Hark! The Lark
Cymbeline Robert Johnson (c.1583-1633)
15. Packington's Pound
16. Bergamasca
17. Sellenger's Round
18. Ring Out Your Bells
19. Fortune My Foe
20. The Arraignment of John Flodder
21. Fortune
22. The Hunt's Up
23. Light o' Love
24. The Poor Peoples' Complaint
25. The Sick Tune
26. Peg a Ramsey
27. The Cushion Dance
28. Tarleton's Riserrectione
John Dowland (1563-1626)
29. The Rat Catcher

Music played a much more important part in Shakespeare's plays than a casual look at the printed editions suggests. On closer inspection we find a wealth of musical stage directions ranging from simple trumpet fanfares to instrumental dances and fully-fledged songs. Only a handful of the earliest song settings have survived, and the finest of them are recorded here. One of the best-loved of all is the enchanting 'O Mistress Mine' sung by Feste to Sir Toby and Sir Andrew as they pass round the wassail bowl. But there are plenty of other musical references in Twelfth Night which are often overlooked. When Sir Toby and his friends plan to take revenge on Malvolio by getting him to wear yellow stockings, Sir Toby cries out 'Malvolio's a Peg-a-Ramsey'. 'Peg a Ramsey' is the name of a popular ballad one of whose verses includes the words 'Give me my yellow hose again. Give me my yellow hose, for now my wife she watches me'. Shakespeare's plays are full of these allusions. The ballads were not actually sung, but just mentioning them made a dramatic point, sparking off a whole chain of associations in the minds of the audience. This album features a broad selection of these popular tunes, including three different versions of 'Light of Love' (one of which is used for the ballad 'The Poor Peoples' Complaint'). In The Merry Wives of Windsor Falstaff refers to the tune 'Fortune my foe', and it can be heard here in versions for solo lute, pipe and tabor and to the words of the ballad 'The Arraignment of John Flodder'. The much-loved Greensleeves is also referred to in The Merry Wives, when Mrs Ford tells Mrs Page that Falstaff's disposition fits the truth of his words as badly as the words of the 100th Psalm fit the tune of Greensleeves.

To complete the picture, there are a number of dances either mentioned by or associated with Shakespeare. Kemp's Jig and Tarleton's Riserrectione commemorate two actors noted for their dancing skills - Kemp was the original Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing. All in all a musical entertainment which our Elizabethan and Jacobean ancestors would have enjoyed as much as the plays themselves.

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