The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0247 Friday, 15 June 2012
Date: June14, 2012 4:47:17 PM EDT
Subject: Original Pronunciation (or, Shakespeare in Mummerset)
[I should really be posting this on September 19, which is International Talk Like A Pirate Day]
I don’t think this has been previously mentioned here: earlier this year, the British Library released a CD: “Shakespeare’s Original Pronunciation: Speeches and Scenes performed as Shakespeare would have heard them”. (That “would have” might not be the correct tense . . . )
This is the latest development in the “Original Pronunciation” movement, which is making steady (if painfully slow) progress (Shakespere’s Globe have been noticeably reluctant) – young people are apparently quite enthusiastic (but pirates are cool . . . ) Perhaps inevitably, this CD is a Crystal family production, with Ben Crystal taking the leading part (David Crystal has a bit part as the Fourth Plebeian in Julius Caesar, Act 3.)
This is essential listening (American listeners may be baffled by track 1, which is Sonnet 116 “in modern English”) – and it is available from Amazon.
I have to confess that I was slightly underwhelmed - I thought I heard more emphasis on accent (a generalised Mummerset) than on pronunciation. There is one glorious inauthenticity – the female parts are taken by women rather than by boys (but that is a whole other can of worms . . . )