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 Posted:   Feb 5, 2014 - 1:05 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

MUSIC FOR FILMED VERSIONS OF SHAKESPEARE’S “HAMLET"

I have seen some threads here on versions of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” scores by Burwell and Doyle and Morricone, but thought I would start a discussion on all of them, although I have to say that I’ve never been a huge fan of “Hamlet,” much preferring the plays “MacBeth,” “The Tempest,” “King Lear,” and “Romeo and Juliet.”

Let me list just some of the films that are presently available on various forms of home video:

1948 starring Laurence Olivier, Anthony Quayle

1964 starring Richard Burton, Hume Cronyn, Alfred Drake

1964 starring Christopher Plummer, Robert Shaw, Michael Caine, music by Richard Rodney Bennett

1990 starring Mel Gibson and Alan Bates, music by Ennio Morricone

1996 starring Kenneth Branagh, music by Patric Doyle

2000 starring Ethan Hawke, Sam Shepard, Kyle MacLachlin, music by Carter Burwell

2009 starring David Tennant and Patrick Stewart, music by Paul Englishby


I have the CDs of the versions by Ennio Morricone, Patrick Doyle, and Carter Burwell, and found mostly small discussions on each of them, with the one thing that jumped out at me was when barryfan wrote this: "I have listened to this a hundred times and I have just never warmed to it. It lacks the power of Henry V and the melodies of most Doyle scores." It’s hard for me to play anything I haven't warmed to more than a couple of times, but a hundred? That was certainly more than just the old college try!

Any thoughts about any of these scores — or others not listed?

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 5, 2014 - 1:16 PM   
 By:   Last Child   (Member)

I like the William Walton score for the 1948 version. The only other score I have is the Morricone, which I have played maybe twice, and dont recollect. Never saw that film version.

 
 Posted:   Feb 5, 2014 - 1:19 PM   
 By:   Basil Wrathbone   (Member)

The Shostakovich score for Hamlet is the best I've heard.

I quite like the suite Herrmann conducted in his Shakespeare films album.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7C9w4yy07I

The complete published score conducted by Yablonsky on Naxos is enjoyable too.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 5, 2014 - 2:31 PM   
 By:   jeff1   (Member)

Not actually a score, but Columbia released a four LP stereo cast recording for that 1964 Broadway production starring Richard Burton. Would love to have that on CD.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 5, 2014 - 2:57 PM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)

The Shostakovich score for Hamlet is the best I've heard.


Likewise, but I love the multi-themed Morricone version as well.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 5, 2014 - 4:43 PM   
 By:   jamesluckard   (Member)

I'm a Doyle completist. I think Hamlet is the finest score he has ever written and the finale, "Go bid the soldiers shoot", is his crowning moment:



I wish I could find a video clip of the breathtaking scene, but the music alone is staggering.

 
 Posted:   Feb 5, 2014 - 11:34 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Thanks for the informative comments! It made me realize that in addition to the Burwell and Doyle and Morricone, I also have suites or excerpts from those by Walton and Shostakovich, but deleted them from my iTunes when I was running out of room. Now where ARE those CDs....

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 6, 2014 - 2:35 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

One other filmed version of Hamlet that is available on video:

1969 starring Nicol Williamson and Anthony Hopkins; music by Patrick Gowers

No recording of Gowers' score is available.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 6, 2014 - 2:55 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

I particularly like both Herrmann's and Sinaisky's recordings of suites from Shostakovich's 1964 score, less so the full score by Yablonsky - perhaps time for another play - but then I much prefer the earlier scores by this giant.

I've owned the Morricone score for much longer and enjoy it very much and if I had to choose then this would be the one I'd take.

I have a cover version of Doyle's 1996 theme (Sweets to the Sweet - Farewell - Alwyn/CoPP) but it's so long since I last played that CD I can't recall what it sounds like.

I have no affinity for the play/films ... frown

Mitch

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 6, 2014 - 3:11 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Here's a recording of Hamlet that is not available on video or CD, only on a 2-LP set. It's Richard Chamberlain's television version, shown in 1970 on NBC as a "Hallmark Hall of Fame" broadcast, and later broadcast on Britain's "ITV Sunday Night Theatre". The score was by John Addison.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 6, 2014 - 5:09 AM   
 By:   Tall Guy   (Member)


I have no affinity for the play/films ... frown

Mitch


That's because, as an accountant, you have no room for self-doubt!

Measure For Measure is probably more your cup of tea smile

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 6, 2014 - 6:17 AM   
 By:   TerraEpon   (Member)

I particularly like both Herrmann's and Sinaisky's recordings of suites from Shostakovich's 1964 score, less so the full score by Yablonsky - perhaps time for another play - but then I much prefer the earlier scores by this giant.


Shostakovich considered it his own favorite, from what I've gathered (of course the majority of his film scores were done purely for money reasons and many of them were propaganda films....I still enjoy the music though)

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 6, 2014 - 8:06 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)


I have no affinity for the play/films ... frown

Mitch


That's because, as an accountant, you have no room for self-doubt!

...


If only that were true ... I'd be a rich accountant, instead of being the poorest one I've known in my (near) 35 years in the profession!

No, it's just that it's Shakespeare ... he may be a Midlander by birth but we're poles apart ... I can't understand those plays what he wrote ...

Mitch

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 6, 2014 - 8:11 AM   
 By:   MusicMad   (Member)

I particularly like both Herrmann's and Sinaisky's recordings of suites from Shostakovich's 1964 score, less so the full score by Yablonsky - perhaps time for another play - but then I much prefer the earlier scores by this giant.


Shostakovich considered it his own favorite, from what I've gathered (of course the majority of his film scores were done purely for money reasons and many of them were propaganda films....I still enjoy the music though)


I've just purchased the Naxos recordings of two of his (much) earlier scores ... A Girl Alone (Odna) and The Girlfriends (Podrugi) each of which I like a lot more - on first play (though, again, I've had the wonderful suite by Sinaisky from the former for some time). Similarly the gorgeous score from The Gadfly (Ovod) ... his version of Hamlet - complete - hasn't quite clicked yet.

Mitch

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 6, 2014 - 12:12 PM   
 By:   John McMasters   (Member)

I’d also give a vote for the Shostakovich score to Grigori Kozintsev’s haunting 1964 film.

Also, I’d propose that we should list the score that Charles Fox provided for The Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie: Strange Brew (1983). It is based, in many ways, on Hamlet...

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 6, 2014 - 12:12 PM   
 By:   Ellen   (Member)

The thing I liked (or at least, found interesting) about Doyle's Hamlet was that it seemed to mesh well with Branagh's stated idea that Hamlet was a national tragedy for Denmark. Not just a family tragedy, but specifically a *national* (Danish) tragedy. The main theme of the Doyle score (expressed in the Placido Domingo song and the Go Bid the Soldiers Shoot) strongly resembles a national anthem of the sort that fits that time and place. In other words, it's supposed to be a bit bombastic.

It's not my favorite Doyle theme, but it fits the theme of the movie (even if some of the usage in some scenes came up for some criticism) And while the movie itself was a bit of a stunt, the time-and-place setting (sort of a Bismarckian Prussian Denmark) was brilliant.

 
 Posted:   Feb 6, 2014 - 12:16 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

Ellen: Thanks! I'll listen to the Doyle soundtrack with new ears! Appreciate it.

 
 
 Posted:   Feb 6, 2014 - 1:11 PM   
 By:   TerraEpon   (Member)



Also, I’d propose that we should list the score that Charles Fox provided for The Adventures of Bob & Doug McKenzie: Strange Brew (1983). It is based, in many ways, on Hamlet...


So then, can we vote for The Lion King too? big grin

 
 Posted:   Feb 6, 2014 - 2:05 PM   
 By:   Ron Hardcastle   (Member)

chuckle

 
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