This is a gorgeous introduction for young listeners to fine literature, a vastly different time and culture, and enchanting music. Narrator Toby Stephens is dazzling as he presents three of the best-known tales: "Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp," "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," and "The Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor." He skillfully renders the text - be it stupendous description, cunning adversaries, or wide-ranging emotion - as he spins Scheherazade's stories. At times, Stephens's accent has a modern sound that should appeal to a contemporary audience. Rimsky-Korsakov's stirring music adds vastly to the rich emotion generated by the exotic tales. Listeners of all ages will be enthralled.
Toby Stephens takes us back to the world of cunning, adventure, mishap, and fun. Sheherezade, night after night, weaves her tales, and Aladdin and his Magic Lamp, Sinbad the Sailor, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, and other tales come alive. The unforgettable music of Rimsky-Korsakov sets the scene perfectly. A delightful treat for young listeners.
© and (P)2004 NAXOS AudioBooks
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"A joined-up version of the nightly tales"
A child-friendly introduction to a few of the most famous tales from the 1001 Nights, read with a fair amount of vigour and drama by Toby Stephens. After a brief scene-setting of how Scheherazade became the latest bride of the king and of her wily plan to evade her deadly fate in the morning, the story launches into the tales. These are: Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp; Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves; The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor; and The Story of Blind Baba-Abdalla.
It's fairly well-written but I was disappointed that the author has chosen to join up each story into an uninterrupted whole. His approach completely ignores the wiliness of the original tales, wherein Scheherazade cunningly stops her story mid-action as dawn breaks each day, thus perpetuating her life. This version loses a lot of the flavour of the storyteller's art and becomes just a retelling of some rather well-known Persian stories.
The stirring music from 'Sheherezade' by Rimsky-Korsakov is fine although the sweeping violins are generally at odds with the stories. I'd have preferred some arabian-sourced music more in keeping with the atmosphere of the tales.
This audiobook is accompanied by a short PDF file which gives timings of the audio sections plus an informative 3-page article by Nicolas Soames.
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