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Purcell's Shakespeare / Pickett, Musicians Of The Globe


Release Date: 08/18/2009 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 446218  
Composer:  Henry Purcell
Performer:  Andrew KingChristopher RobsonNicholas Hurndall SmithWilliam Purefoy,   ... 
Conductor:  Philip Pickett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Globe
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The link between Shakespeare and Purcell is several times removed from the oft-purported and erroneous conception that England's Orpheus was forever setting the Bard to music. Whilst Shakespeare's plays enjoyed revivals, such Restoration drama and 'opera' (for which Purcell provided inspirational parentheses) unashamedly gutted the interior and left the facade. For one, Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is but a distant blood relation of The Fairy Queen; the question of whether Purcell restores Shakespearian shadows with his puckish instrumental music is an agreeable, if a decidedly romantic idea. Just to rub it in, not even Purcell's famous "If music be the food of love" is original Shakespeare but rather — after the first Read more line — the verse of Colonel Henry Heveningham. Even so, few would dissent from the claim that Purcell is "Our musical Shakespeare," if only for his extraordinarily sympathetic response to verse, arguably as great as any English composer's subsequent efforts.

For the purposes of the Musicians of the Globe, Purcell's professional contact with the Shakespearian context is the prime raison d'être here, not the process of selecting works whose characterization recalls Shakespeare in its glorious acuity: if Purcell is "Our musical Shakespeare", then surely "Saul and The Witch of Endor", with its intensely heart-rending and concentrated narrative, is a rather less specious spiritual heir of Shakespeare's than Act 2 scene 1 of Dido and Aeneas, whose inclusion seems to rest on having 'punctuated' an adaptation of Measure for Measure (though doubtless one can find strong Shakespearian allusions too)? For all that, The Witches Scene is where this recording brutally grabs the attention: with four slide-trumpets and drum in attendance, and a bass for the Sorceress (as it may have been performed in Lincoln's Inn Field Theatre in 1700), this is a striking interpretation. Roderick Williams's decisive and portentous singing complements an unusually resplendent palette, a version probably last heard eight years ago in the last, sadly now-defunct, Early English Opera Festival. Other highlights include some fine solo singing in the mouth-watering Act 2 Masque of The Fairy Queen, delectably paced by Pickett, and some impressive instrumental contributions throughout. The inspiration for this project — or how it has been interpreted — may have delimited it in one sense, but the best moments here are atmospheric in a theatrical manner of which the Bard would have been proud.

-- Gramophone [2/1998]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Timon of Athens, Z 632: Masque by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Andrew King (Tenor), Christopher Robson (Countertenor), Nicholas Hurndall Smith (Tenor),
William Purefoy (Countertenor), Roderick Williams (Baritone), Julia Gooding (Soprano),
Libby Crabtree (Soprano), Helen Parker (Soprano), Simon Grant (Bass)
Conductor:  Philip Pickett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Globe
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1694; England 
2.
If music be the food of love, Z 379 by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Meredith Hall (Soprano)
Conductor:  Philip Pickett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Globe
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1692-1695; England 
3.
Dido and Aeneas, Z 626: Act 2, Scene 1 by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Catherine King (Mezzo Soprano), Teresa Shaw (Alto), Roderick Williams (Baritone)
Conductor:  Philip Pickett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Globe
Period: Baroque 
Written: England 
4.
Tempest, Z 631 "Enchanted Island": Dear pretty youth by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Julia Gooding (Soprano)
Conductor:  Philip Pickett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Globe
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1695; England 
5.
History of King Richard II, Z 581: Retir'd from any mortal's sight by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Helen Groves (Soprano)
Conductor:  Philip Pickett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Globe
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1681; England 
6.
Fairy Queen, Z 629: See, even night herself is here by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Helen Parker (Soprano), Roderick Williams (Baritone), Christopher Robson (Countertenor),
Libby Crabtree (Soprano), Meredith Hall (Soprano)
Conductor:  Philip Pickett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Globe
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1692; England 
7.
Fairy Queen, Z 629: I am come to lock all fast by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Helen Parker (Soprano), Roderick Williams (Baritone), Christopher Robson (Countertenor),
Libby Crabtree (Soprano), Meredith Hall (Soprano)
Conductor:  Philip Pickett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Globe
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1689; England 
8.
Fairy Queen, Z 629: One charming night by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Helen Parker (Soprano), Roderick Williams (Baritone), Christopher Robson (Countertenor),
Libby Crabtree (Soprano), Meredith Hall (Soprano)
Conductor:  Philip Pickett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Globe
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1692; England 
9.
Fairy Queen, Z 629: Hush, no more by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Helen Parker (Soprano), Roderick Williams (Baritone), Christopher Robson (Countertenor),
Libby Crabtree (Soprano), Meredith Hall (Soprano)
Conductor:  Philip Pickett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Globe
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1692; England 
10.
Fairy Queen, Z 629: Dance of the Followers of Night by Henry Purcell
Conductor:  Philip Pickett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Globe
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1692; England 
11.
Fairy Queen, Z 629: Now the night is chas'd away by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Helen Parker (Soprano), Christopher Robson (Countertenor), Roderick Williams (Baritone),
Libby Crabtree (Soprano), Meredith Hall (Soprano)
Conductor:  Philip Pickett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Globe
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1692; England 
12.
Fairy Queen, Z 629: Sinfonia to Act 4 by Henry Purcell
Conductor:  Philip Pickett
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Musicians of the Globe
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1692; England 

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