Great Historical Shakespeare Recordings and a Miscellany

4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-9626342008
ISBN-10: 9626342005
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Editorial Reviews

From AudioFile

Despite hit-and-miss restoration, this is a delight for the theater buff, cultural historian, and acting professional. The first cassette includes speeches from Shakespeare recorded from 1896 to the 1940s, recited by the most notable actors of the day--Sir Henry Irving, the greatest of the Victorian actor-managers; Ellen Terry, his leading lady; a very young Gielgud; Olivier; Dame Sybil Thorndyke; the American Edwin Booth, John Wilkes's brother; and the Great Profile, John Barrymore; among others. The second cassette presents a miscellaneous collection of theatre and vaudeville--notably Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence (the first Anna in THE KING AND I) in the former's musical comedy PRIVATE LIVES; Coquelin, the original stage Cyrano, reading from that play in French; a turn by Laurel and Hardy; and the legendary Sarah Bernhardt. Obviously, some of these performances will seem overblown and dated, but others still possess considerable power. Naxos has spaced its signature classical music bridges to give the ear a rest from the often scratchy recordings, which have been lifted from old discs, wax cylinders, movie sound tracks, and radio broadcasts. Y.R. Winner of AUDIOFILE Earphones Award. © AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Serie Pedagogia Para Lo Superior
  • Audio CD: 5 pages
  • Publisher: Naxos Audio Books (September 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9626342005
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626342008
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.5 x 4.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,094,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in April 1564, and his birth is traditionally celebrated on April 23. The facts of his life, known from surviving documents, are sparse. He was one of eight children born to John Shakespeare, a merchant of some standing in his community. William probably went to the King's New School in Stratford, but he had no university education. In November 1582, at the age of eighteen, he married Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior, who was pregnant with their first child, Susanna. She was born on May 26, 1583. Twins, a boy, Hamnet ( who would die at age eleven), and a girl, Judith, were born in 1585. By 1592 Shakespeare had gone to London working as an actor and already known as a playwright. A rival dramatist, Robert Greene, referred to him as "an upstart crow, beautified with our feathers." Shakespeare became a principal shareholder and playwright of the successful acting troupe, the Lord Chamberlain's Men (later under James I, called the King's Men). In 1599 the Lord Chamberlain's Men built and occupied the Globe Theater in Southwark near the Thames River. Here many of Shakespeare's plays were performed by the most famous actors of his time, including Richard Burbage, Will Kempe, and Robert Armin. In addition to his 37 plays, Shakespeare had a hand in others, including Sir Thomas More and The Two Noble Kinsmen, and he wrote poems, including Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece. His 154 sonnets were published, probably without his authorization, in 1609. In 1611 or 1612 he gave up his lodgings in London and devoted more and more time to retirement in Stratford, though he continued writing such plays as The Tempest and Henry VII until about 1613. He died on April 23 1616, and was buried in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford. No collected edition of his plays was published during his life-time, but in 1623 two members of his acting company, John Heminges and Henry Condell, put together the great collection now called the First Folio.

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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By F. Behrens HALL OF FAME on September 8, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Of especial interest to students of the theatre and certainly to actors is a Naxos collection of <Great Historical Shakespeare Recordings and a Miscellany> (NA 220012) on two CDs or tapes.
The first one gives us the voices of such Shakespearean luminaries as Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Arthur Bourchier, Lewis Waller, Frank Benson, Johnston Forbes Robertson, John Gielgud, Sybil Thorndike, Lewis Casson, John Barrymore, Laurence Olivier, Henry Irving, Edwin Booth, and Ellen Terry. The last three are preserved on cylinders and the Booth one is scarcely audible. All of these readings are in the grand style, and it is instructive to compare the "Once more unto the breach" of Waller and Benson with that of Olivier. Terry's youthful delivery belies her age, but too many of the readers came to the recording session far past their prime. Still, this is living history and utterly fascinating as such.
The "Miscellany" is a mixed bag indeed. We have pairs of actors such as Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence in "Private Lives," Fred Terry and Julia Neilson in a poorly chosen scene from "The Scarlet Pimpernel," John Gielgud and Edith Evans in the marvelous handbag scene from "The Importance of Being Earnest," and even Laurel and Hardy recording in London. (Strange bedfellows indeed.)
Solo "turns" are performed by Tree as Svengali, Bransby Williams imitating Irving in "The Bells" and several (then) notable theatre personalities in his monologue "The Stage Doorkeeper," Henry Ainley reading "The Charge of the Light Brigade," and Charles Laughton reading (of all things) The Gettysburg Address (from the film "Ruggles of Red Gap").
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By PAUL MEIER on June 27, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As a text coach for Shakespeare productions, and a professor who trains actors to deal with heightened text, I found this collection of historical recordings invaluable in giving us a sense of the way Shakespeare performance styles have evolved since the advent of recorded speech. I wish I had been able to reference it in my recent eBook, Voicing Shakespeare; I would have loved to have invited comparison between the the techniques I teach in the eBook and the techniques we hear in Irving, Terry, Gielgud, and Olivier. But it will certainly be useful used in conjunction with my Accents and Dialects for Stage and Screen (includes 12 CDs), in which I use Shakespeare monologues extensively. I will certainly be using this disc in my master classes to provide a historical context for the performance styles and techniques I explore.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 10, 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
The Naxos production of Great Historical Shakespeare Recordings offers the listener a unique and superbly presented compilation of some of the greatest recordings of Shakespearean material dating from the very beginnings of the recording era. Here you will find Shakespeare being recited by such legends of the stage as Henry Irving, Ellen Terry, Herbert Beerbohm Tree, John Barrymore, John Gielgud, Sybil Thorndike, Hugh Cassohn, Laurence Olivier, and many more. Also included are performances by such unlikely but gifted Shakespearean performers as Charles Laughton, Edith Evans, Laurel and Hardy, Bransby Williams, Dylan Thomas, Sarah Bernhardt, and others. In addition to Shakespeare enthusiasts and scholars, Great Historical Shakespeare Recordings is highly recommended to students and the non-specialist general listener who would enjoy sampling the variety of impressive performances over the past several decades.
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Format: Cards Verified Purchase
This is fairly heady are actual recordings of some of the most famous, influential stage actors from the 19th and 20th centuries taking another bow. The only disappointment is that although the disc comes with a table of contents, it does not state which actor is reading any particular passage. So unless you are old enough to have actually heard Edwin Booth in person, you will have no idea which voice belongs to him.
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