Shakespeare’s Globe has launched its own record label, Globe Music, with the aim of sharing the atmosphere of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse with an international audience. The theatre – a historically informed reproduction of Shakespeare's own – has already gained wide recognition thanks to its candlelit concert series featuring artists such as Trevor Pinnock, Jordi Savall and Mark Padmore. The new label builds on this already-broad appeal, the hope being that the venue's characteristic 'woody' acoustic will lend recordings a particularly distinctive tone.
The label’s first project, a compilation of English and Chinese folk songs performed by tenor Ian Bostridge and guitarist Xuefei Yang, is ideally suited to the intimacy of the venue. Called ‘Songs from Our Ancestors’, the recording features music spanning centuries, from Dowland to premieres by Stephen Goss and Chen Yi, via songs by Britten and Schubert.
Other planned recordings include a programme of period music arranged by Claire van Kampen, the director, composer and playwright, taken from recent Shakespeare productions on Broadway and in the West End, and a collection of West African music featuring a collaboration between guitarist Derek Gripper and Kora player/cellist Tunde Jegede.
The video above shows Ian Bostridge and guitarist Xuefei Yang – who appear on the first Globe Music release – performing Britten's Songs from the Chinese at the 2013 Gramophone Classical Music Awards.