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Home :: Archive :: 1993 :: August ::
Re: Audio Shakespeare
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 4, No. 485.  Friday, 13 August 1993.
 
(1)     From:   Tad Davis <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Aug 93 9:35:35 EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0484  Q: Audio Shakespeare
 
(2)     From:   Gardner Campbell <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Aug 1993 14:33:41 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   RE: SHK 4.0484  Q: Audio Shakespeare
 
(3)     From:   Celine Gura <
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        Date:   Thursday, 12 Aug 1993 04:36:26
        Subj:   Re: SHK 4.0484  Q: Audio Shakespeare
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tad Davis <
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Date:           Thursday, 12 Aug 93 9:35:35 EDT
Subject: 4.0484  Q: Audio Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0484  Q: Audio Shakespeare
 
I know of four sets of more or less complete Shakespeare, and I still run
across them in the odd bookstore or two.
 
Caedmon and Cambridge both produced Shakespeare series, with the complete
texts of the plays. The Caedmon recordings, directed by Howard Sackler,
are particularly elaborate, and feature people like Paul Scofield playing
Hamlet and Lear, Sean Connery (if memory serves) playing Hotspur, and a
host of other notables. I find the pace of the Caedmon recordings to be a
bit slow; on the other hand, when I was a junior in college and they were
available at the Richmond Public Library, I used to check them out on the
weekends and spend hours listening to them over and over again. They're
designed for people who really want to drink deep.
 
The Cambridge recordings are a little faster-paced but the acting is more
formal, a little more shallow in some way. Where the Caedmon series is an
audio "experience," the Cambridge series seems more like a recording of a
stage production. Neither would be intelligible to someone who was not
otherwise familiar with the play. (Since they're complete, though, it's
possible to follow along in the script.)
 
The BBC has a series of recordings too, but I'm not sure if it's the
complete set. I've heard the Lear with Alec Guiness and it's quite good.
The recent CBC production of Lear drew much praise on this list recently,
but I haven't heard it.
 
There are two sets of abridged performances that are still around: the
"Living Shakespeare" series, about an hour per play, with introductions by
Bernard Grebanier. Name-brand actors, great production values (lots of
music and sound effects), probably a good way for high school students to
make contact with the text, hacked and pared as it might be.
 
Spoken Arts also has a series of recordings produced by Micheal MacLiammor
and the Dublin Gate Theater, again about an hour per play. The emphasis
here is more on the sound of the poetry, with longer chunks of individual
speeches than the Living Shakespeare set. LS gives a more carefully
proportioned view of the story; SA lets you revel in the language.
 
I'm very much interested in other responses to this query. I've recently
become intrigued (again) with the idea of radio drama, which was always my
first love. It seems to me an ideal Shakespeare for audio would be about
two hours long, requiring many cuts, but not as many as the one-hour
versions; with period music and realistic sound effects, and the
occasional BRIEF narration (under protest). I don't know if anyone's ever
tried it this way.
 
Tad Davis

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gardner Campbell <
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Date:           Thursday, 12 Aug 1993 14:33:41 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 4.0484  Q: Audio Shakespeare
Comment:        RE: SHK 4.0484  Q: Audio Shakespeare
 
I can't speak to the plays on audio cassette, but I can vouch for a
lovely two-cassette edition of the complete *Sonnets* on Argo, read
by Richard Pasco (of the RSC--Jacques in the BBC *As You Like It*).
Hearing all the sonnets read, in order, by such a superlatively good
reader as Pasco, effects transport ... for this listener, anyway.
 
Gardner Campbell
University of San Diego

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(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Celine Gura <
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Date:           Thursday, 12 Aug 1993 04:36:26
Subject: 4.0484  Q: Audio Shakespeare
Comment:        Re: SHK 4.0484  Q: Audio Shakespeare
 
John-
 
I did a very brief search this morning for you and you might want to try
calling some of these places and inquiring about the complete works:
 
Educational AV
Pleasantville, NY
1-800-431-2196
 
Precision Video and Audio
Bellwood, IL
312-544-7770
 
Audio Partners
Auburn CA
(couldn't track phone #)
 
American Audio Prose Library
Columbia MO
1-800-447-2275
 
Annenberg/CPB
S Burlington VT
1-800-learner
 
These are from my database which came up under a search of "audio" and
"humanities". I am putting word out to the librarians on my media mailing
list(Media-L%
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 ) and I will write with more
info.
 
Celine Gura (
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 )
Media Acquisitions Coordinator
Rush University LRC
312-942-6799
 

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