Power, Adventure, Chivalry
The story of King Arthur is, of course, only a legend, and most boys who grew up in England (as I did) will be aware of the numerous battles, and acts of chivalry, as well as the moments of love and despair that Arthur and his knights go through in trying to run a unified country in the wake of the breakdown of Roman rule. This Naxos audio CD depicts all the elements of the story we read about at school, from the time of Aurthur's birth right through to his death and his departure across the sea to his final resting place in the mystical Avalon. The sense of power, adventure and chivalry comes through beautifully in this wonderful telling of the story and will appeal to children of all ages as well as some adults!
My favourite part is where Arthur, having been fatally wounded, is collected silently by the Maidens of the Water and ferried away to his final resting place in Avalon, a mysterious island somewhere across the sea.
It was nice to be able to familiarise myself with the Arthurian adventures again after nearly fifty years, so that I can share the magic of the story with my grandchildren.
Another superb production from Naxos!
As a teacher of English, I'm interested in all aspects of the language. The sheer scope of this Anglo-Saxon epic marks it out as the most important surviving text of its kind anywhere. Of course, not everyone can read or understand the Old English language of Anglo-Saxon times, so Naxos have performed a masterstroke in producing a beautifully read modern (prose) translation of the story, thus making it available to a much wider audience. Any translation is, by definition, a compromise, but comparing this modern reading with the energy and beauty of the original alliterative verse shows that it can be done and, as in this case, most convincingly. Anyone interested in Beowulf - even for the first time - will be enthralled by this version and, as with all Naxos products, be happily surprised by the very reasonable price. I have been buying Naxos products for years and I must say I have never once regretted it. The recording quality is superb and the production team seem to be experts in putting together top-quality performances!
Sir Gawain and The Green Giant is another masterstroke in making one of the greatest poetical works of Middle English available to a modern audience. The verse translation retains much of the alliteration and power of the original and will appeal to audiences of various age groups.
I have listened to various versions of Beowulf, but this is the first time I've heard Crawford Logan reading anything. His performance of this epic is wonderfully alive and certainly the best reading I have heard to date.
The story is already well known to me, so I was more interested in how close to the original this modern reading comes across. This is a superb reading in every respect!
Buy it, and enjoy Anglo-Saxon history at its best! You may even be tempted to do a course and study the original Old English verse some day!
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