Shakespeare at the Movies

« previous episode | next episode »

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The great Bard of Avon -- age cannot wither, nor custom stale his infinite variety! Shakespeare's dramas have been adapted to film many times, and an impressive range of composers have contributed to those movies. On what just may be Shakespeare's 447th birthday, David Garland presets Shakespearean film scores, including Nino Rota's Romeo and Juliet, Dimitri Shostakovich's King Lear, Patrick Doyle's Much Ado About Nothing, Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate (based on "The Taming of the Shrew") and others. If music be the food of love, play on!


Stephen Warbeck - Shakespeare In Love - The De Lessep's Dance - Sony Classical

Patrick Doyle - Much Ado About Nothing - The Picnic, Overture - Epic Soundtrax

Nino Rota - Romeo & Juliet - Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet, What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks? - Silva America

William Walton - Henry V - Passacaglia: Death of Falstaff, Touch her soft lips and part - Nimbus

Patrick Doyle - Henry V - The Death of Falstaff - EMI

Patrick Doyle - Hamlet - I Loved You Once - Sony Classical

Ennio Morricone - Hamlet - Hamlet (Version 2) - Virgin

Cole Porter - Kiss Me Kate - Overture, Keenan Wynn & James Whitmore: Brush Up Your Shakespeare - Rhino

Dimitri Shostakovich - King Lear - Finale 2nd Act, Prelude (March of Time) - Capriccio

Jocelyn Pook - The Merchant of Venice - How Sweet The Moonlight, Song For Bassanio - Decca

Elliot Goldenthal - Titus - Victorius Titus, Tribute & Suffrage - Sony Classical

Below: Rota's Romeo & Juliet:

Comments [14]

The show went by too quickly! It was fun and lovely. Thank you!

Apr. 23 2011 10:23 PM
Mark from Boonton, NJ

I just discovered your program a few weeks ago when you did the Elizabeth Taylor tribute and now I look forward to it every Saturday night. I won't leave the house until it is over. What a neat idea for movie buffs! Thank you!

Apr. 23 2011 10:08 PM
Stephanie J. Hughes from Manchester, NJ

Thank you for a night of fantastic, lovely music, and for the trailer, which brought back some beautiful memories!!!

Apr. 23 2011 10:04 PM

Oops! My bad! I saw "Victorious Titus" and thought it was the entry-into-Rome sequence at the beginning. This is a slightly later scene leading up to Saturninus being declared Emperor.

Apr. 23 2011 09:59 PM

How Sweet the Moonlight is gorgeous! I can see that standing along as a recital piece.

Apr. 23 2011 09:51 PM
Two Dishes from Manhattan, NY

Mine girlfriend doth protest the bard's soundtracks be all too sappy. For my part I like them as the wind likes the waves.

Apr. 23 2011 09:47 PM

The Branagh Hamlet is remarkable because it's got everything of the original in it. I disliked it for the cast. Too many "names": Charleton Heston, Brian Blessed, Billy Chrystal, Robin Williams, John Gielgud ... On the other hand, the Gibson Hamlet wasn't effective. Gibson's Hamlet seemed forced, and Helena Bonham Carter's Ophelia was too strong a character to become unstrung.

Apr. 23 2011 09:45 PM
Two Dishes from Manhattan, NY

RE Gev, above:

My girlfriend is wondering whether an "ill fitting codpiece" is a source of pride or shame.

Apr. 23 2011 09:35 PM

First read Shakespeare when I was seven. Dad had a book of The Tragedies lying around. My sister and I would take Mom's knitting needles and act out the dueling scenes from Romeo and Juliet. "Act out," indeed ...

Apr. 23 2011 09:07 PM

Thanks for that info, Mr. Garland! Do you know if the lyrics were already there, waiting for a tie-in single? I haven't seen the movie, so please do forgive me if I think the song sounds like something created with pop music charts in mind. Oh great ... now other soundtrack "songs" like Vita Nostra in The Mission are coming to mind. I'd better stop ruminating and just enjoy the program!

Apr. 23 2011 08:59 PM
David Garland

Gev, Rota's Romeo and Juliet theme was a pop hit back in 1968, complete with lyrics, "A Time For Us."

Apr. 23 2011 08:04 PM

Rota's Romeo and Juliet theme sounds as though it was written to lyrics. It has the impetus of language arranged in stanzas, not the emotional momentum of a dramatic scene. Structure is circular; there is no sense of development for the characters or plot. It moves nothing forward. In other words ... it's just a pop tune in simple ABA form. (Is it only three minutes long, like most pop tunes??? I should time it ... It "feels" about that long. Or short ... )

Apr. 23 2011 06:56 PM

I love Shakespeare, so I'm looking forward to tonight's show! Please do allow me to add a link to the scene in Titus which, I believe, features the pertinent part of Eliot Goldenthal's score:

Alas, the brilliance of the score did not, for me, diminish the unfortunate hilarity of the sight of armor-clad, post-Apocalytic Romans marching like vid-game characters with ill-fitting codpieces. What WAS the director thinking???

Apr. 23 2011 05:58 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane from BOONTON, NI

SHAKESPEARE was perhaps the greatest, most perceptive genius of all the arts, that the world will EVER know !!!
How fitting that composers should adapt his words to operas, dramatic overtures and tone poems, musicals, background music based on his poems, sonnets and plays and films and plays based on his life and oeuvre. Wagner, himself like Verdi and Berlioz and Chausson and Boito and Nicolai and Vaughn-Williams and AMBROISE Thomas, was an ardent Shakespearean.
Two of his earliest operas were based on Shakespeare plays: Die Feen on Midsummer Night's Dream and Das Liebesverbot on Measure for Measure.

Apr. 23 2011 11:23 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.