JWR Articles: CD - Shakespeare's Music (Featured performer: Ronn McFarlane) - September 28, 2007 id="543337086">

Shakespeare's Music

4 4
78 min.

Greatness ready to explode

Long before West Side Story turned Romeo and Juliet into a spectacular musical, the Bard’s works have been coloured and enriched by all manner of musical devices. From songs-within-the-play to “dances and masques,” his works have been underscored with instruments and voice since their premières ere so long ago. Now there’s a disc whose generous helping of 33 tracks gives a wide-ranging appreciation of what might have been heard in the Globe Theatre during Shakespeare’s day. The instrumental bits are by far the highlights and whet the appetite for more from Les Witches (“Fortune my Foe” - Anonymous - is a rollicking combination of a persuasive recorder lead and a harpsichord that knows when to stop), The Baltimore Consort (“Green Garters” stands up well—its energy and verve are infectious; its seamless shifts from duple to triple a constant delight) and Ronn McFarlane’s incredible discretion and care as he utilizes his crystal-clean lute to render such works as Dowland’s “Fortune my Foe” and, unforgettably, “Tarleton’s Resurrection.” Vocally, Julianne Baird’s strident upper range slightly bespoils the verse-rich “Greensleeves.” On the other hand, tenor Frederick Urrey’s sole contribution, “O Mistress Mine” displays an ideal hue for the texture and mood for all lovers lost (happily, much more of his art can be found on another disc with McFarlane). And for the devil in us all, whether covert (“The Jewes Dawnce”—Shylock unbound), or overt (the pair of “Witches Dances” scrape and howl as the incantations heat up to a boil, taking on a decidedly gypsy air), this collection is a must have for those who thrive on lovingly crafted accompaniments that stylistically—sometimes subliminally—serve to reinforce the multilayered meanings of timeless art. JWR

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Featured performer - Ronn McFarlane
Soprano - Julianne Baird
Tenor - Frederick Urrey
My Lord of Oxenford's Maske - Consort Lessons 1599 - William Byrd
Robin Is to the Green Wood Gone - Anonymous
Greensleeves - Anonymous
Take, O Take Those Lips Away - John Wilson
Where the Bee Sucks - Robert Johnson
Full Fathom Five - Robert Johnson
O Death, Rock Me Asleep - Anonymous
Fortune My Foe - John Dowland
Robin Is to the Green Wood Gone - Matthew Holmes
Light o' Love - New Lessons for the Cittern 1599
O' Mistress Mine - Thomas Morley
The dark is my delight - John Marston
Packington's Pound - Anonymous
There Were Three Ravens (pub. 1611) - Thomas Ravenscroft
Pavane d'Espagne (improvisation)
Green Garters - John Johnson
Kemp's Jig - Anonymous
Come My Celia - Alfonso Ferrabosco
Have You Seen but a White Lily Grow - Robert Johnson
Care, Charming Sleep - Robert Johnson
Satyrn Dance - William Brade
Come Away, Hecate - Robert Johnson
The First Witches Dance - Robert Johnson, William Brade
The Second Witches Dance - Nicholas le Strange
Tarleton's Resurrection - John Dowland
Now the Lusty Spring Is Seen (1614) - Anonymous
The Jewes Dawnce - Richard Nicholson
It Was a Lover and His Lass - Thomas Morley
Lavolto - Consort Lessons 1599
La Coronto - Consort Lessons 1599
Fortune My Foe - Anonymous
The Willow Song - Anonymous
Bonny Sweet Boy - Anonymous
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