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Hamlet (Classic Drama) Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook


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Product details

  • Audio CD: 3 pages
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks; Abridged edition (1 Aug. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9626344172
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626344170
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 12.9 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 405,026 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in Warwickshire and was baptised on 26 April 1564. Thought to have been educated at the local grammar school, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he went on to have three children, at the age of eighteen, before moving to London to work in the theatre. Two erotic poems, Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece were published in 1593 and 1594 and records of his plays begin to appear in 1594 for Richard III and the three parts of Henry VI. Shakespeare's tragic period lasted from around 1600 to 1608, during which period he wrote plays including Hamlet and Othello. The first editions of the sonnets were published in 1609 but evidence suggests that Shakespeare had been writing them for years for a private readership.

Shakespeare spent the last five years of his life in Stratford, by now a wealthy man. He died on 23 April 1616 and was buried in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford. The first collected edition of his works was published in 1623.

(The portrait details: The Chandos portrait, artist and authenticity unconfirmed. NPG1, © National Portrait Gallery, London)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. K. M. Hunt on 19 July 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A definitive portrayal by a great dramatic actor. Sir John Gielgud's very fine speaking voice adds to the enjoyment of his depiction of the complex character of Hamlet. For anyone who wants only one recording of this play, this is the one to get.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gabrielle Kent on 16 Jan. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Shakespeare as he should be heard! How lovely to hear the voices of actors no longer with us, with special mention for Andrew Cruickshank and his gentle Scottish accent as Claudius,and the beautiful English voice of Hugh Burden as Laertes!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
John Gielgud has played Hamlet countless times since his epic first performance in 1929. Hearing him 25 years later speak at length on the part in an archived BBC recording leads me to believe that this 1948 recording is as good as it gets. Gielgud's voice is a wonder and I also thoroughly enjoyed hearing Balliol Holloway playing Polonius. I've watched several different versions of the play over the years but, for me, playing this with a script to hand is the ultimate experience of Hamlet.
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By L Williamson on 1 Dec. 2013
Format: Audio CD
Bought this as a teaching tool for my A level literature group. Good price and excellent delivery. Although the 1948 recording inevitably sounds dated, it's a good quality recording, and my students have enjoyed the interpretation of key scenes. Act III scene 1 went down well with the group, very moving.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 6 reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Historic Recording 31 Mar. 2007
By Doc Holliday - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After reading the negative and only review of this CD, I decided to see how terrible this recorded performance was for myself. First of all, I was surprised at how clear the sound of the performance actually was, considering the date of the recording. Second, I've seen and heard numerous performances of Shakespeare's Hamlet over the years, (including Mel Gibson, Nicol Williamson, Lawrence Oliver, Richard Burton, and Kenneth Branagh), most of which I have enjoyed, more or less, for different reasons. (I find it is a lot like listening to the many, great violinists who have recorded Beethoven's, one and only, Violin Concerto in D, Op. 61, i.e., some are good and some are great, for different reasons.)

At the time of this recording, John Gielgud had played Hamlet over 500 times and this performance in 1948 came late for him to play the role, yet Gielgud was also at the height of his abilities as an actor. I found that beyond the various interpretation's of Hamlet's personality by others, no one can "Speak the speech, I pray you, ...trippingly on the tongue..." in the decisively commanding, poetic, and eloquent manner as John Gielgud. It is the beauty of Shakespeare's language that Gielgud offers here, and that I believe is worth the price of admission, (or in this case, the 3CDs). Of course, the cast is not perfect, but Andrew Cruickshank is the best Claudius, I've ever heard, and Hugh Griffith's monologue as the First Player is just marvelous. Also, memorable is Marian Spencer as Gertrude, Baliol Holloway as Polonius, Sebastian Shaw as Horatio and Hugh Burden as Laertes. If that's not enough to wet your palette, get this CD set for no other reason than it is a historic performance of a John Gielgud with an enchanted voice, like none other.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Strong Cast in a Bygone Style 2 Sept. 2008
By apt2full - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Sir John Gielgud was one of the premier Shakespearean actors of the 20th Century. He was well known for his Hamlet, having played it approximately 500 times by the time of this broadcast.

Another reviewer brands him "simply not Hamlet" and describes his performance as "weak and lacking in intelligence." Inexplicable criticisms and wrong.

"Simply not Hamlet" defies the judgment of Gielgud's contemporaries, who held his Hamlet as the standard by which to measure all others. The erring reviewer can only mean not conforming to his individual pre-conception of the role. No useful information is conveyed by such criticism.

"Weak?" Is Gielgud's Hamlet recessive, inarticulate, unimportant, ineffective, uninvolving, lacking in reserves? Heck no. Therefore it is not weak.

"Lacking in intelligence" is vague and unprovable, as no one makes more of Shakespeare's language than Gielgud. We might not make the same choices today, but none of his choices are unintelligent, and some of them remain unmatched.

So, what do we really have here, all preconceptions to one side? A poetic performance that, top-to-bottom, concentrates on the language in a florid, large-than-life manner, almost operatic, that is no longer current. The style is not invalid, just lost. And being broadcast live, without editing, the energy level of the whole cast is that much higher.

Any fan of Shakespeare on audio should have this performance as a centerpiece of his or her collection. Required listening.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Hamlet - Shakespeare - Gieglud - Live Drama 15 Feb. 2012
By Stephen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Play: NA. It is a classic.

Radio Drama: I chose this version since all the reviews said that Gieglud's version of Hamlet was the best. Since I have not seen or heard another, I can not judge. However, it was very good.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Hamlet CD 11 Dec. 2012
By Derek Hunter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Gielgud is absolutely brilliant. One has to remind oneself that he knew Hamlet inside and out, having done the play in a number of productions over the years, not just once or two time experienced. probably the most fleshed out version of Hamlet ever done by an actor.
Five Stars 13 April 2015
By JHB-4 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
An essential in the history of Shakesperean performance!!
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