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Home :: Archive :: 1998 :: May ::
Re: Tempest Music
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 9.0448  Monday, 11 May 1998.

[1]     From:   Tanya Gough <
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        Date:   Friday, 8 May 1998 09:25:52 -0400
        Subj:   Tempest Music

[2]     From:   David Lindley <
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        Date:   Friday, 8 May 1998 17:54:21 GMT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 9.0439  Re: Tempest Music


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Tanya Gough <
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Date:           Friday, 8 May 1998 09:25:52 -0400
Subject:        Tempest Music

A quick look at my sadly depleted audio stock turned up a Harmonia Mundi
title called Shakespeare Songs by the Deller Consort, which contains
"Where the bee sucks" and "Full Fathom Five", both composed by Robert
Johnson (n.d.).  Further afield and possibly off topic, there's also
Tchaikovsky's "Tempest", which is subtitled a "symphonic fantasia in F
minor after Shakespeare, Op. 18 (1873)".  There's more, but I wont have
the info in front of me until next week.

Tanya Gough

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Lindley <
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Date:           Friday, 8 May 1998 17:54:21 GMT
Subject: 9.0439  Re: Tempest Music
Comment:        Re: SHK 9.0439  Re: Tempest Music

The real question is what sort of music is required.  Only two
contemporary settings, by Robert Johnson, survive, and they are printed
in both Arden and Oxford editions.  Settings from the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries, including settings of the songs incorporated in
the successive revisions of the play following Davenant-Dryden also
survive - the Arne settings are readily available.  This music actually
held the stage for a considerable time - and even this century some
critics were complaining if productions did not use the 'traditional'
settings.  The Shakespeare Music Catalogue, ed Thatcher et al. gives an
exhaustive listing of settings which have been composed throughout the
centuries.  Unfortunately, most of these are 'ghosts', and it is
virtually impossible to track down manuscripts, let alone printed
copies  of most of them.  So there is, to my knowledge, no complete
score available of, say, the music provided by Michael Tippett for the
1962 Old Vic production - only the Songs for Ariel which were rearranged
and published separately (and which, in my view, are very fine settings
indeed).  Equally, there is no published score of Stephen Oliver's
brilliant pastiche music provided for the RSC in 1982 (Derek Jacobi as
Prospero).

If the desire is for a complete score in a musical style contemporary
with the play, then, I'm afraid, it means selecting and arranging music
borrowed from other sources.  It's not impossible to do this - and
perhaps someone has tried.  An example of how it could be attempted is
the way the Musicians of the Globe have manufactured a score for Ben
Jonson's Oberon on a disk which is a companion to that including
performances of the Johnson settings of The Tempest songs.

Happy hunting.......
David Lindley
School of English
University of Leeds
 

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