Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Original pronunciation.

The British Library releases the first ever audio CD of Shakespeare spoken in the original pronunciation, Hamlet included:
"This CD promises to be entertaining as well as a unique and important resource for the study of Shakespeare. Thanks to the latest scholarship it takes us closer than we have been able to come before to how the works of the greatest English playwright were spoken and acted in his own lifetime.

"Under the guidance of Ben Crystal, actor and expert in original Shakespearian pronunciation in performance, a company of actors performs some of Shakespeare’s best-known poems, solo speeches and scenes from 18 of his plays. The selection of speeches includes Hamlet’s “To be, or not to be”, Antony’s "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears” from Julius Caesar, Henry V’s “Once more unto the breach, dear friends”, and “All the world’s a stage” from As You Like It. Scenes are included from The Comedy of Errors, King Lear, Macbeth, Much Ado about Nothing and Othello."
A few extracts have been included with the press release and the experience of listening to familiar words in a less familiar idiom is beguiling, like hearing them again for the first time. This piece of Jacques from As You Like It brings a new sense of reality to the character, the pronunciation of "fool" to sound more like "full" bringing greater sense to the text.

1 comment:

Brian Joseph said...

This CD sounds fascinating! I wonder if anyone else has tried this in recent memory. Though it seems obvious when I think about it, it never occurred to me before that the pronunciation in the 1600s would be so different.

I wonder if the CD will ever be available in the USA for for download.