Sunday, November 26, 2006

Beautiful music and classics

Do you know that you can find a classic poem by searching for one distinctive phrase with your favorite search engine?

Search for "my soul was sorely shaken" and you will find a poem that was set to music and sung by the most beautiful female voice over the credits of the recent movie version of The Merchant of Venice. Unfortunately on my screen the lettering is too small to read composer's or singer's name.

The movie made me realize what a true classic piece of art is. The respect with which the play is treated by the movie makers shows us that this is not just another good or historically significant play. That incredible ballad is one tiny piece of the production, one many people will pay no attention to, but it is perfect, and was offered up to the audience and perhaps to the spirit of Shakespeare, because it was only right. Reverence, that's the word.

One other thing worth noting. Portia is played by Lynn Collins, whom pictures on the net show to be quite an attractive young woman. In the movie, the makeup people have made her look quite supernatural. Have a look at her while she watches Bassiano try to chose the right box.

Update: Thanks to a commenter, I now know that the singer is Hayley Westenra. Returning to the Bridal Ballad, listening to it, and reading the lyrics over, I have come to realize that the song is not mere decoration, but taken together with the last scenes of the movie proper adds a whole new element to the production. Oh, well done!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Dr Muhlberger,
I'm in your Modern World class. The thought of good music from shakespeare intrigued me and I went hunting for this song. From what I can tell, the girl that sings it is Hayley Westenra. Thought you might be interested. Back to studying! Cheers!
-Bethany Aitchison

5:08 PM  

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