For this 400th anniversary Decca has re-mastered and re-issued the celebrated Argo recordings as Shakespeare – The Complete Works, performed by the Marlowe Dramatic Society and Professional Players (4783506). The Marlowe Society was formed in 1907 as a student drama society of Cambridge University. For these Argo recordings made under the auspices of the British Council between 1951 and 1964, many familiar voices appear in both leading roles and lesser parts in the full cast recordings of 37 plays, also 154 sonnets and four narrative poems. Recognized voices include John Gielgud, Ian McKellen, Peggy Ashcroft, Derek Jacobi, Michael Hordern, Peter Pears, Ian Holm, Margaretta Scott, Prunella Scales, George Rylands, Toby Robertson, Clive Swift, Roy Dotrice, Geraldine McEwan, Miles Malleson, Richard Marquand and scores of others in roles of various importance. It is clear that correct enunciation and inflection are of predominant importance and sometimes dramatic tension may suffer in the pursuit of flawless articulation. However, the prime reason for assembling these enactments and recitations is to have all Shakespeare’s timeless words and his uses of those words at your fingertips. The impressive, luxury-boxed set of 100 CDs and an illustrated eight and a half by ten inch 224-page book that includes full cast listing, analysis of each work and fascinating engravings uniquely fills the bill. Could be a very nice seasonal present for the family.
Shakespeare – The Complete Works
Marlowe Dramatic Society and Professional Players
The following is an excerpt from Old Wine in New Bottles - Fine Recordings Re-Released (December 2016) which can be read in its entirety here.