A profoundly modern dimension emerges from this confrontation between English works from the 17th century (Henry Purcell, Matthew Locke) and works from the 20th and 21st centuries (Philippe Hersant, Franck Martin, Thierry Pécou). Coming from highly different musical universes, each composition is, however, largely inspired by the founding themes of Shakespeare’s play, sometimes taking up excerpts from it. The text is recited in English, or rather Shakespeare’s ‘Old English’, as are all the sung parts, in order to reproduce the strong, sweet accent of that tongue.
“Choral blend and enunciation are immaculate, at their very best in Martin's Songs of Ariel…it's particularly good to see 'Let mine eyes run down with tears' among the more familiar numbers - a neglected gem of rare intensity, performed here with tremendous poise”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.