April 13th, 2009

castlevania library

Murder In The Cathedral, First Half

This is my musical accompaniment / reconstruction of T.S. Eliot's "Murder In The Cathedral".

The performance that I used as a foundation for this work is by the Theatre Recording Society, starring Paul Scofield. It was originally released on two vinyl LPs in the grand old year of 1968.

Murder In The Cathedral was penned by T.S. Eliot in 1935. The wikipedia article gives a good synopsis of the play. I actually suggest you drop into this knowing only the bare bones of the plot: The Archbishop Thomas Beckett has returned home after a long absence, during which he fell out of favor with the king. He takes up residence and is soon visited - as he expected - by three very different people who propose illegal and/or blasphemous alliances.

Best listened to during a quiet walk in the woods at dusk. :)

I have cut several sections, the biggest cut being the entire second scene, where Archbishop Thomas arrives and his friends excitedly discuss just how far out of favor he has fallen with the king. Only a few snippets of it remain. There's nothing wrong with this scene and the other sections, they just don't contribute to the atmosphere enough. The whole reason I did this was because of the unique atmosphere of the play and this performance.

I have also taken great liberties with the audio mix... Hiss reduction, stereo imagery rearrangement, dynamics changes for some of the voices, and some pretty hefty EQ alterations. I also added some really screwy voice processing during the opening scene for added creepiness -- I could probably talk about that for a few pages, but I'll restrain myself.

AAC version: Murder In The Cathedral First Half
Lossless version (Apple codec): Murder In The Cathedral First Half
(right-click and save-As to download)

If there's any interest I'll post a list of all the music I used.

(P.S.: Elsewhere on the internet you may encounter a 2006 BBC radio production of this same play. If you decide to listen to it, check out how crappy the acting and the direction is compared to this version from 40 years ago.)