©2008 Saland Publishing; (P)2008 Saland Publishing
An author search for "John Donne" yields 13 albums on Audible.com, most of them multi-poet anthologies. I own 4 John Donne audiobooks, including this one ??? "Poems by John Donne" (narrated by Christopher Hassall, 24 minutes) ??? plus "Richard Burton Reads the Poetry of John Donne" (35 minutes); "Love Poems" (Edward Herrmann; 2 hours 27 minutes); and "John Donne: Selected Poems" (Frederick Davidson; 3 hours).
In my opinion, the two shorter JD albums are far and away the best. You just cannot find better Donne interpreters than Hassall and Burton. These late great British actors are, alas, ill-served by three factors: the recordings are abridged (leaving the listener wanting SO much more), there's no TOC, and the poem titles are not announced. However, the audio quality of both albums is fine.
The aforementioned three problems do not plague the 5-to-6-times-longer recordings by Herrmann and Davidson: all poem titles are announced. Herrmann, an American actor, is a decent reader of John Donne, though not in Burton or Hassall's league. Unfortunately the audio fidelity of Herrmann's album is mediocre at best.
There's absolutely nothing wrong with the audio quality of Davidson's album. This distinguished British voice actor is well represented on Audible.com, but ??? and this is one BIG but ??? I cannot stand his voice. To say anything more (as I attempted to, in a past review of his "Don Juan"), would probably get this review expunged. Since the qualities that contribute to our enjoyment (or detestation) of a given narrator are mostly subjective ??? e.g., some listeners will complain about a reader's impenetrable English accent whereas others will detect no such "problem"! ??? I will simply urge you make sure you enjoy Davidson before committing to listening to him for ??? 3 hours.
But back to this page and "Poems by John Donne" (n. Christopher Hassall). It's hard to do better ??? unless you prefer Richard Burton ??? than these legendary recordings. I highly recommend this album!
only because i can listen again and again with less effort, and in a voice other than my internal voice
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