Adaptations, arrangements and reinterpretations
I've been giving quite a bit of thought to this subject since pondering the pros and cons of the current 'Great Expectations' dramatisation on BBC TV and reading the reactions of various members on the thread about it.
Also because my last cultural activity of 2011 will be an evening with godson and family on Saturday at the new Sherlock Holmes film with Robert Downey Jr.
I love the original Conan Doyle stories very much, though not as much as Dickens's novels. Yet although the current TV adaptation of Dickens (and indeed the forthcoming second series of the Cumberbatch 'Sherlock' starting on New Year's Day) and the Guy Ritchie 'vision' of Conan Doyle do a certain amount of violence to the originals, broadly speaking I'm very keen on them all.
But I took a great friend who adores the Holmes stories to see the first of the Ritchie films (because I'd already seen it and thought it was great) and he hated it with a passion, it was all he could do to stay in the cinema, and was grumpy for the rest of the day
I think my enthusiasm is because, whilst excising or changing certain (in fact, many) details, good reinterpretations and arrangements are true in some sense to the energy and atmosphere (at least in part) of the original, and add some rich visual aspects proper to the medium of the adaptation.
In the musical field, I find that I often prefer arrangements to the originals... I've played the CD of Bach arrangements of organ pieces (Slatkin / BBCSO - arrangements by Elgar, Respighi, Schoenberg et al) far more than I have to the original pieces... I'm sure there are other examples I can't think of at the moment.
And I find myself in the almost unheard-of situation of being about to purchase a disc of ... Liszt! The organ version of his B minor sonata (or at least the extracts played by AMcg in Saturday's CD Review) I found completely entrancing http://www.amazon.co.uk/Liszt-Organ-...5158952&sr=8-1
So fired by these musings, and galvanised by the catalyst of Anna's
Originally Posted by Anna
I wondered if others have thoughts about how far it is permissible to muck about with great originals, and whether others share my apparently rather indulgent attitude to adaptations and reinterpretations, even when I passionately love the source material.
"The isle is full of noises... Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not"
The Tempest, Act III scene 2 ll 148-9