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William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Soundtrack

4.1 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Soundtrack, April 20, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A Midsummer Nights ~ William Shakespeare's A Midsumm

Amazon.com

The world of meddling fairies and "amorous discord"--both frolicsome and subversive--conjured by A Midsummer Night's Dream has enchanted the imagination of many a composer, the most famous being Felix Mendelssohn. Selections from his magical evocation of Shakespeare's poetry set the tone for Michael Hoffmann's engaging new film version featuring an all-star cast. The soundtrack also takes its cue from the director's setting of the play in late 19th-century Tuscany to indulge in some of the great moments of Italian opera. Gloriously spun melodies from Verdi, Donizetti, and Bellini enrich the film's sensual texture of laden banquets and misbegotten erotic dalliances by night in the forest. In his own original score, Simon Boswell (whose other credits range from Cousin Bette to Shallow Grave) interweaves moments of neo-Puccinian poignancy for the deluded mortals with exotic, Near Eastern-tinged strains to depict the lascivious pleasures of the fairy realm. As envisioned by the director, these assume a netherworldish quality more reminiscent of the Brothers Grimm than the Italian landscape. Opera fans will also relish the presence here of two new recordings by Renée Fleming made specifically for the soundtrack, including "Casta diva," which is sung as a counterpoint of languid beauty to Shakespeare's tangled web of illusory passion. --Thomas May

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Overture (from Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer Night's Dream")
  2. Brindisi - Renee Fleming/Marcello Giordani (from Verdi's "La Traviata")
  3. Che Gelida Manina - Luciano Pavarotti (from Puccini's "La Boheme")
  4. The Course of True Love (Boswell)
  5. Between the Cold Moon and the Earth (Boswell)
  6. Hot Ice (Boswell)
  7. The Forgeries of Jealousy (Boswell)
  8. I Know a Place Where the Wild Thyme Blows (Boswell)
  9. Casta Diva - Renee Fleming (from Bellini's "Norma")
  10. Intermezzo (from Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana")
  11. What Fools These Mortals Be (Boswell)
  12. Strange Snow (Boswell)
  13. Fair Lovers You Are Fortunately Met (from Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer Night's Dream")
  14. Una Furtiva Lagrima - Roberto Alagna (from Donizetti's "L'Elisir d'Amore")
  15. Wedding March (from Mendelssohn's "A Midsummer Night's Dream")
  16. A Most Rare Vision (Boswell/Mascagni)
  17. Non Piu Mesta - Cecilia Bartoli (from Rossini's "La Cenerentola")


Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 20, 1999)
  • Original Release Date: April 20, 1999
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Soundtrack
  • Label: Decca
  • Run Time: 116 minutes
  • ASIN: B00000ILWJ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,241 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was enchanted with this film's version of Shakespeare's most magical play, and the soundtrack was among its greatest delights. The classical pieces are superbly selected from among the most romantic in Western music, such as Mendelssohn's musical version of the play, and arias from Verdi, Puccini, Bellini and Donizetti. I was especially pleased by the inclusion of the "Intermezzo" from Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana," a gorgeous interlude in an otherwise dark opera. But I was most enthralled by the Oriental and highly original quality of Simon Boswell's score for the Fairy scenes--the contrast between the fairies' exotic music and the mortals' beautiful classical music clearly emphasized the very separate worlds that they inhabited. This score is every bit as enchanting as Shakespeare's Midsummer Night of mixed-up romance and magic!
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Format: Audio CD
The soundtrack and score to this film version of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream " is a breathtaking and beautiful collection. Despite the complaint that the Flower Duet from Lakme (which was apparently featured in the trailer for this film) was not used means really nothing when you hear what they cooked up for this great musical compilation album. As we know, Shakespeare was English and in the past "A Midsummer Night Dream" movies had a very English, jolly and bouncy kind of music. Simon Boswell wanted to try something different. What he came up with was a very avant garde and fascinating musical score. He combined the music that Felix Mendelsshon composed for A Midsummer Night's Dream in the 19th century (here we get to hear the Overture and the famous Wedding March which is used in movies depicting a wedding and even on actual weddings) and Simon Boswell also gathered some bel canto Italian opera excerpts. In addition, his original music is interpolated. Simon Boswell's original music is appropriately exotic, mystic and fairy-like. After all, we are leaving the human and civilized world of the adults and into a world of tiny people in the woods. The original music sounds Hindi and Oriental, spiritual, chamber music style, a blissful integrated music of Western and Eastern.
As for the human touch, Simon Boswell (as explained in the liner notes) decided that the humans introduce opera which is foreign to the fairies- and in many cases, to us people of the pop culture of 2003. The opera he uses was appropriate and relevant in turn of the century Italy, the time the film is set. The film starred Kevin Klein, Michelle Pfeiffer and Calista Flockheart, a group of Edwardians who are tangled up in a chaotic romantic mess in the woods. The selections from the operas here are excellent.
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Format: Audio CD
If you want Yanni, buy a Yanni CD. OK? If you want beautiful classical melodies written by Mendelsohn and wonderful, REAL, arias and duets sung by the incomparable Cecilia Bartoli, Renee Fleming et al, then buy this CD. It's amazing. Everyone I know loves it, whether their primary musical interest is classical or not - mine isn't.
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Format: Audio CD
This is for those who are searching for the song featured in the trailer. I bought the True Romance soundtrack for the Howard Blake arrangement of the Flower Duet (viens mallika) written by Delibes. It turned out to be the same arrangement as used in the soundtrack for the movie The Hunger starring David Bowie and Catherine Deneuve. It doesn't sound like the version I heard on the trailer. I also checked out the Luminaire version but it was more of a techno track with some floating vocals from the duet. Again, not quite what I had expected. There is also a remix of Luminaire's version by Jonathan Peters called "Flower Duet '99" but I haven't heard it (yet). I finally searched through soundtrack.net which has a section identifying music used just for trailers. This identified the Flower Duet as the arrangement by Yanni. I do have one of Yanni's CDs which has a song called "Aria" - I had bought it specifically for the Flower Duet. It does sound quite similar to the trailer version but I can't be sure - somehow the beat in the trailer is stronger and faster (a slightly speeded-up and remixed version?). Anyway, the Yanni version "Aria" is available on some of his CDs. If you're interested, there's even a live version of "Aria" in his Live at the Acropolis CD. For those who have to get every non-operatic version of this, there is also the Malcolm McLaren arrangement (in a compilation CD) which was rather effectively used quite some time ago in the British Airways ads.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This lovely version of the Shakespeare tale is imaginative, creative, and wildly beautiful. The use of both opera and classic music adds to the drama, the fun, the subtle humor of the play, and has the ability to stand on its own outside of the film for sheer enjoyment.
My favorite opera aria, "Nessun Dorma," passionately sung by Pavarotti, is here, and I never tire of it. What can I say? Great music befits a classic story--and this is a perfect example of that idea.
Buy it, and find yourself entranced. True magic worthy of the Fae themselves...
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I watched this on TV and just had to buy the sound track. The music is lovely and now I can listen to it at home or in my car. My school performed this when I was in high school and I have loved the play ever since. Kevin Kline is perfect.
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