Exits and Entrances commemorates the 400th anniversary on April 23rd 2017 of the death of the world’s most celebrated playwright William Shakespeare.
The recording comprises readings of many of the most well known and best-loved verse and sonnets from the world’s finest playwright, with specially scored original light classical music accompanying nine of the twenty four tracks on the album, written by British composer Jackie Williams.
It features the renowned stage and screen actress, the iconic Dame Judi Dench, with some of her favourite selections from the Bard’s works, alongside television and theatre actor David Suchet , best-known for his unique TV portrayal of Agatha Christie’s Poirot, the hugely popular successful TV series syndicated to many countries.
Also featured is Emilia Fox from the famous Fox family dynasty, well-known for her lead character in crime drama ‘Silent Witness’, along with two other celebrated members of the Dench family. Jeffery Dench, late brother of Dame Judi, was a prolific actor and member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, well-known for his powerfully-intoned Shakespeare roles, who adds a contrastingly robust tone, and Oliver Dench, grandson of Jeffery, is an aspiring actor who recently adapted and performed Hamlet to great acclaim, playing all the characters in the play.
The project was originated by producer Mike Ritson and his musician partner Jackie. Ritson went to art college in Liverpool at the same time as John Lennon and had a successful career working in advertising in the 1980s before becoming a TV producer for ITN.
On the 24 tracks, the stars each perform well-known snippets from Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry V, The Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, Richard III, and As You Like It, as well as sonnet selections.
“We happened to know Jeff Dench, Judi’s brother, and we really owe a lot of the album’s success to him,” said Ritson. “Our friendship grew and he connected us with Judi. He loved the idea of doing a CD of Shakespeare’s words and music and he thought Judi would be excited too, and she was – everyone loves Shakespeare and they all jumped at the opportunity. All it took was a phone call to David Suchet and Emilia Fox to get them on board. They’ve all done it for the pure love and passion.”
Composer Jackie added: “The idea of the CD is to combine Shakespeare’s best loved words – sonnets and extracts – with light classical music. We’ve intentionally avoided going down the medieval route that everyone does, there’s no lutes on it!”
Dame Judi Dench recently appeared on the popular British radio show Desert Island Discs (the longest-running programme on the BBC) selecting her eight favourite records. Among them she chose her brother Jeffery Dench’s recital of Sonnet 18 – ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’ – from “Exits And Entrances”, with the familiar line, ‘thy eternal summer shall not fade’, lent extra poignancy by the fact that Stratford resident Jeffery passed away last year.
To pre-order now at Amazon, click here.