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Shakespeare Songs & Consort Music Import, Original recording reissued

4.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, Original recording reissued, October 10, 2000
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. As You Like It: Act V, Scene 3: It Was A Lover And His Lass
  2. Measure For Measure: Act IV, Scene 1: Take, O Take Those Lips Away
  3. Twelfth Night: Act II, Scene 3: O Mistress Mine
  4. Strike It Up, Tabor
  5. Othello: Act IV, Scene 3: Willow Song
  6. The Tempest: Act V, Scene 1: Where The Bee Sucks
  7. Hamlet, Prince Of Denmark: Act IV, Scene 5: How Should I Your True Love Know
  8. Walshingham Vars
  9. We Be Soldiers Three
  10. Romeo And Juliet: Act IV, Scene 5: When Griping Griefs
  11. The Tempest: Act I, Scene 2: Full Fathom Five
  12. Henry V: Act IV, Scene 4: Calleno Custure Me
  13. King Lear: Act I: Then They For Sudden Joy Did Weep
  14. Bonny Sweet Robin
  15. Twelfth Night: Act V, Scene 1: When That I Was
  16. Kemp's Jig
  17. Greensleeves
  18. Melismes De Ravenscroft: He That Will An Alehouse Keep
  19. Non Nobis Domine


Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 10, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import, Original recording reissued
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
  • ASIN: B00004TVGW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,562 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Peter W. Dent on November 9, 2006
Alfred Deller presents a masterly classic of the Songs from Shakespeare.

Recorded in 1970, this work cannot be surpassed. Well worth adding to any collection.
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I was very disappointed with this cd. Evidently these songs were recorded in 1970. I have some earlier recordings of Deller I am quite fond of and play often but I found his voice here to be quite aged and with a hooty quality not evident previously. I would definitely recommend earlier recordings. I have the 'Three Ravens' cd from 1955, which is lovely. It is no longer in print, but I can testify that in 1955, his voice was simply angelic, and I am sure there are more recordings from around then or earlier.
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Alfred Deller is no longer a young man. I remember him in concert in Bordeaux Grand Théâtre in 1963 or so, but he has not aged when he sings Shakespeare since Shakespeare's plays contain a lot of music, dancing and singing and since in his time women could not get on the stage the singing was performed by male voices only, hence the need to render that music the way it was actually composed and performed and instead of a very traditional modern soprano we have to have a countertenor. Alfred Deller was one of the first to do that pilgrimage to Shakespeare the way he was sung when he was alive. And it will then take nearly a century for women to be allowed on stage with Purcell and Handel.

The originality of this recording is the voice of Alfred Deller himself. He is not any countertenor and he favors the sad, nostalgic, or mournful tone that fits his voice perfectly. We could think he has only one tone. It is true in this recording. And I must say he does it so beautifully, with so much emotion and heartfelt truth that we feel as if Shakespeare was always using that painful and awesome tone. It is true Romeo and Juliet is a drama and that color fits it.
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This is a great album from the the early days of the early music revival. For those not familiar with this recording, it is a collection of songs used in Shakespeare's plays. What makes this one different from the competition is that these are the original melodies, the ones actually used in Shakespeare's day - that's the claim, anyway, and I haven't studied the period enough to dispute it. They're some catchy tunes, so don't be surprised if you start singing along, and the recording is very crisp and clear, better than my old LP.

Two things to note about this recording that may influence your decision to buy or not:
1) Most of the songs are sung by countertenor accompanied by lute. For many this is an automatic turnoff, but just wait a moment. Instead of running away when you hear that high voice, sit down and listen to it for a while. Just give it a chance, and it'll make its own case. In all likelihood, you'll be a fan after fifteen minutes; if not, there's no accounting for taste, but you should either find another recording, or buy it just for the amazing polyphonic songs which feature some big booming "man" voices.

2) Not all of these songs are settings of words written by Shakespeare or mentioned in the plays. Roughly a third are popular songs of the day that probably would have been used here and there in the plays (normal stage practice of the time used loads of music that wasn't necessarily scripted).

If you've made it through all this tiresome text and you're still interested, you will love this recording. Buy it and enjoy it!
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