Morley, Dowland, Purcell, Jones, Johnson, etc

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Dowland,etc,Johnson,Jones,Morley,Purcell
LABELS: Philips
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Shakespeare’s Musick
WORKS: Works
PERFORMER: Musicians of the Globe/Philip Pickett
CATALOGUE NO: 468 024-2 Reissue (1997-9)
This is a compilation of tracks from several recent discs. Selection and ordering create an entertaining programme, arranged chronologically from Morley to beyond Purcell. It is, though, false economy to omit full texts. Many of the songs are narratives, full of subtle allusions, set syllabically and very fast; fail to catch one word and you lose the point. So I missed the bawdy details of a man plying his maid with ‘Watkin’s Ale’, though its specific gravity is explained in the booklet. The problem’s compounded by some soprano vowels leaping from the line to hit you between the eyes. Roderick Williams proves this need not be: ‘Farewell, Dear Love’ is irresistible. So too is Meredith Hall’s almost whispered end to ‘The Willow Song’. Four Purcell songs fare better, their words set in extended melismas and repeated; Julia Gooding and Helen Parker duet entrancingly with two recorders as ‘songsters of the grove’. George Pratt