THE TWO Gentlemen of Verona is the latest offering in the RSC’s ongoing series of recordings of music and speeches, available now on CD and to download.
The album features original music by Michael Bruce from Simon Godwin’s current production at the RST in Stratford, together with archive music stretching back to 1938 and Anthony Bernard’s very different production at the Shakespeare memorial Theatre.
RSC Head of Music Bruce O’Neil says: “Music can often be a barometer of the differences in taste between generations, and so it is with Michael Bruce’s score for Simon Godwin’s current production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona, set in contemporary Italy which stylishly highlights the disjunction between a provincial, antiquated Verona and a vibrant, urban Milan.
“The same effect can be heard in the Archive selection on this CD – Anthony Bernard’s music for Ben Iden Payne’s 1938 Stratford production. While the songs sound ‘modern’ for a production of that period, the incidental music is pastiched in the style of Mozart.
“One of music’s universally recognised strengths is its power of seduction, especially when encapsulated in the love song. ‘Who Is Silvia?’ is one of Shakespeare’s best known song texts and has enjoyed settings by many celebrated composers, including Franz Schubert.
“For this RSC production, Michael Bruce has cast the song in the mould of ‘Indie Ballad’, as imagined from the pen of Proteus as singer-songwriter, and it is interesting to hear alongside Bernard’s 1938 version, performed here by the great British Baritone, Roderick Williams.”
The CD, priced £5, is available online from the RSC shop – www.rsc.org.uk – or as a download from iTunes.