COMPOSERS: Cornish,etc,Holborne,Hume,Kapsberger,Philips,Praetorius,Works by Morley
ALBUM TITLE: This World’s Globe
WORKS: Instrumental interludes to Shakespeare dialogue
PERFORMER: Musicians & Actors of The Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Company, London
CATALOGUE NO: SIGCD 077
The first disc in this set mixes music, brief excerpts from Shakespeare’s plays (some recorded during public performances) and extracts from contemporary documents, which are read in what is believed to be a close approximation of Elizabethan English. I don’t doubt the authenticity of the accent, but ‘tis pity it often sounds disconcertingly like Mummerset. The speeches from the plays are, however, given in standard modern pronunciation by a distinguished cast including Mark Rylance and John McEnery. The musicians are an equally illustrious crew, including William Lyons, Keith McGowan and Vivien Ellis.
There could hardly be a better aural souvenir of a visit to the Globe, but the set also stands up on its own as a superbly-performed compilation of Elizabethan and Jacobean music, with a varied, well-chosen selection of enchanting pieces that, on disc 2, sets out to illustrate the dramatic (and, sometimes, occult) significance of certain instruments, as well as the increasingly popular influence of Spanish and Eastern European music.
A minimum of 25 per cent of the profits go to the Shakespeare Globe Trust. Barry Witherden