Hyperion Records

To fair Fidele's grassy tomb
There was a revival in interest in Shakespeare on the stage around 1740, prompted by the revolution in Shakespearean acting initiated by Charles Macklin and David Garrick. Macklin was lucky to have Thomas Arne available to provide music for his Drury Lane productions: Arne’s settings of songs for As You Like It (1740), The Merchant of Venice (1741), The Tempest (1740 and 1746) and Cymbeline (1744) have never been surpassed or forgotten since they were written. Arne tended to use either the strophic form, with a simple almost folk-like melody, as in ‘To fair Fidele’s grassy tomb’, or the ‘pleasure gardens’ form of two sections enclosed by opening and closing ritornelli, as in ‘When daisies pied and violets blue’, ‘When icicles hang on the wall’ and, most memorably, ‘Where the bee sucks, there lurk I’. Arne is also notable for his simple but effective orchestration, using two- or three-part strings with a flute where necessary to imitate birds.

from notes by Peter Holman 2004

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