‘Oi! You’re Bard!’

https://i0.wp.com/a3.files.biography.com/image/upload/c_fit,cs_srgb,dpr_1.0,h_1200,q_80,w_1200/MTE1ODA0OTcxNzgzMzkwNzMz.jpgWell, I’m back very late, and there’s almost nothing of April 23 remaining — but I do want to put out a quick posting about William Shakespeare, seeing as this is the 400th anniversary of his death, and that the impact of his dramatic and poetic work upon the history of Western music is just about as great as the impact of any art upon any separate art, ever…

Now, in broaching this topic, I naturally want to flag up both the contribution of Shakespeare himself and the work done by at least one composer in connection with it — so here are three YouTube clips that I hope will provide a meaningful experience even for my legions of readers around the world who haven’t encountered Shakespeare before and don’t know much British music.

All three of my clips relate to Shakespeare’s play Richard III (c.1592) in the 1955 film version that starred Laurence Olivier and had music by William Walton. In fact, my first clip is entirely Walton (pictures aside), as it consists of music from the film conducted by its composer…

My second clip — from the start of the play — contains a little Walton in the form of a link and a bit of underscoring (in my view, both obtrusive and over-literal, so don’t be distracted by it — or by me!); but mostly it’s Olivier and Shakespeare (in a somewhat corrupted edition) showing just what can be achieved by a combination of comprehending acting and magnificently powerful writing… (No, I’m not going to say any more about it, much as I would like to.)

And my third clip — from almost the very end of the film — has a lot of Olivier and a good deal of Walton in it, and a rather smaller amount of actual Shakespeare. So don’t pretend you haven’t seen all the bases covered, one way or another…

So, Shakespeare. The Bard. The Swan of Avon.

Born 1564; died 1616.

And did some pretty impressive stuff in between…

MD

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2 thoughts on “‘Oi! You’re Bard!’

  1. Enjoyed, as ever, Mark😀 Do you know where Bosworth Field was in this case? Doesn’t look like England, but I’ve never been to Bosworth!!

    Like

    • Thanks for that!

      As it happens, this bit of the film was shot in “La Mancha, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain” (according to the always-useful IMDB!). Which, to be honest, I’ve always found a bit baffling: Leicestershire doesn’t look anything like that, even in August!

      M.

      Like

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