Shakespeare’s plays: Holborne’s The Fairie Round (Voyager Golden Record), Voices of Music

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Anthony Holborne’s “The Fairie Round,” performed on original instruments, from Holborne’s collection published in London in 1599. HD Video from the Voices of Music “Great Poets” concert, January, 2015.
The dances of the fairies figures prominently in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream:
Come, now a roundel and a fairy song;
Then, for the third part of a minute, hence;
Some to kill cankers in the musk-rose buds,
Some war with rere-mice [bat] for their leathern wings,
To make my small elves coats, and some keep back
The clamorous owl that nightly hoots and wonders
At our quaint spirits. Sing me now asleep;
Then to your offices and let me rest.
[The Fairies sing]
You spotted snakes with double tongue,
Thorny hedgehogs, be not seen;
Newts and blind-worms, do no wrong,
Come not near our fairy queen.
Philomel, with melody
Sing in our sweet lullaby;
Lulla, lulla, lullaby, lulla, lulla, lullaby….

The Fairie Round was selected for inclusion on the Voyager Golden Record, which was launched into space in 1977. The 1977 version is unusual in that unlike the other early music selections on the Golden Record, it was performed on original instruments by David Munrow, one of the pioneers of the Early Music revival. Our version is based on Holborne’s original print of 1599. This lively dance is scored in five parts, and Holborne’s title reads “Pavans, Galliards, Almains, and other short Aeirs both grave and light, in five parts, for Viols, Violins, and other Musical Wind Instruments.” These instruments would have been used in matched consorts, or mixed together in “broken” consorts, as it is performed here. For this performance, we used smaller, early style bows and the violins are held “off the chin.”
Voices of Music
The Musicians (left to right)
Hanneke van Proosdij, recorder
Carla Moore, baroque violin
Gabrielle Wunsch, baroque violin
Lisa Grodin, baroque viola
Elisabeth Reed, viola da gamba
David Tayler, archlute
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