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Bringing Coleridge into music is nothing new – between Charles Griffes in 1912, and  the heavy metal band Nightwish in recent years, one can even assess that it some of those musical renditions have met some notable success, something rather uncanny, considering the topic, and the age of the original text.

Coleridge and music – that’s a topic that will sooner or later introduce any modern researcher to Richard Hill’s body of work. Hill, born in 1942, and as a composer most likely remembered by people from my generation for writing the music to the classic Will Shakespeare TV series, whose concepts anticipates 1999’s Shakespeare in Love, has worked twice on Coleridge, arranging musical scores for readings of both Coleridge’s Rime, and of Kubla Khan.

The later, writer Ben Manning has persuaded Mr Hill to offer to the public for free now, via Youtube, and this is reason enough to share it here. Now, one may wonder how to make an hour-long composition out of a two-page poem, but Hill manages to connect the music and Mr Kingsley’s reading in a way that, while probably not in sync with the rather simplistic, yet bombastic style of contemporary classical composers, is still truly supporting the mood of the text, and, notably, accessible to the listener.

Definitely worth listening to, and definitely worth more than “just” a freebie on Youtube.

On Mr Hill’s website, you can find additional info on his composition, as well as general information on his life, and musical work. Click here to access it:


Personally, I wonder if the piece is still played by a live orchestra in Europe one of these days; also, seeing the ballet interpretation Mr Hill mentions might be interesting. Not that I am too much a friend of the pompous ritual that classical performances have become in our present times, but I might just dust off my tuxedo for this one.