‘Macbeth’ and ‘Julius Caesar’ were chosen by the British Council as the first two Shakespeare plays from which to film scenes for export. The overseas audiences for whom such ‘shorts’ are intended are mainly those who have no opportunity of seeing a stage version of the plays, but who, through their studies of the English language, may be familiar with them. Henry Cass is the director, and the incidental music is by Benjamin Frankel. As might be expected, the filming of scenes from Shakespeare does not provide many musical opportunities for the composer, but those which presented themselves were met with imagination and technical deftness. Frankel recently showed his mettle in a string quartet produced by the London Contemporary Music Centre, a work of considerable emotional power and concentrated expression. As his reputation to date has been achieved principally as an orchestrator for the theatre, it was interesting to see what this composer would do with these two films. The result is striking, particularly in the title preludes and postludes where the music has free play. Frankel's scores combine freshness and originality with an easy and assured command of the orchestral medium.
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