John Keats's (1795 - 1821) awareness of his imminent death lends a tragic intensity to this selection of letters and poems. This is enhanced by the fine performance of Samuel West, whose rich, young voice embodies the passion and precision so characteristic of the poet's brilliant and questing mind. The occasional commentary by Matthew Marsh is in deep, slow contrast to West's narrations. Like other Naxos recordings, the piano interludes - in this case, a selection of Mendelssohn's piano works and his "Songs Without Words" - allow the listener reflective moments to digest the material. The whole is thoughtful and conducive to fully appreciating Keats's lyricism.
John Keats' letters paint an unforgettably vivid and moving picture of the richly productive but also tragic final years of the poet's life. As he ponders on the nature of the writer's craft, he must first confront his brother's death from tuberculosis and then the imminent prospect of his own, tormented by the fear that he will not live to consummate his relationship with Fanny Brawne.
This general selection also includes many of his finest poems, versions of which often appeared for the first time within the letters themselves. Among them are: "Ode to Melancholy”, "Ode of a Grecian Urn", "Old Meg", "Ode to a Nightingale", "La Belle Dame sans Merci", and "To Autumn".
(P)1999 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.; ©1999 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.
I use audible for just such original titles as Realms of Gold. Some content is best to be read, while other titles are meant to be listened to, contemplated upon and slowly absorbed. Keats' letters fall in the latter category. Never before have I heard a better voice speaking on Keats' behalf. The rich voice of the British narrator brings the poet alive, despite Keats' untimely death in Italy so long ago, in a way that I could never do reading alone, and frees me up to enjoy the richness, texture and ideas that Keats left to the world. Truly a gift. In Realms, some of Keats' best poems are interlaced with his letters, augmented with just the right amount of narration to give the listener important perspective on Keats' life. This is as well-balanced of an offering as you'll find and I can't recommend it enough.
I can't recall a lovelier afternoon than the one I just spent listening to this audiobook. Keats was the first poet with whom I fell in love way back when I was in my early teens. This selection of his poems, interspered with letters written concurrently and even sometimes mentioned in the letters, is beautifully read by West (one of the best narrators ever, in my opinion) and Marsh. I can't recommend this one highly enough to anyone who loves Keats.
Keats writes like a dream, and the narrators read like a dream. Beautiful job of editing letters and poems together. Music unobtrusive.
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