This outstanding historical recording made in 1941 for radio is widely regarded as one of the finest Hamlet performances ever, and one of John Gielgud's greatest moments. Though he went on to record it for commercial release, nothing matched this recording in the BBC studios, made before the days of editing.
It's hard for any director to make HAMLET sound new, so Naxos has done the opposite: they've made it sound old. This is a remastered version of a 1948 performance with John Gielgud in the title role. Though the sound quality is better than you'd expect, some of the dramaturgy seems outdated now, and the actress playing Ophelia is noticeably weak. But Gielgud overpowers any shortcomings, demonstrating why he owned this role during his career and why all subsequent Hamlets try to measure up to him. In the music of his voice, all the play's famous soliloquies and witty exchanges that you've heard a dozen times before suddenly sound fresh, an ironic pleasure in a sixty-year-old recording.
ogg vorbis files, 90MB
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