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Best CON audio books?

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Best CON audio books?

Postby David Jack » 25 Oct 2006, 20:15

The other day I bought an 'audio book' of 'The Magician's Nephew' read by Kenneth Branagh (unabridged, of course) and have so far listened to 3 of the 4 CDs. I've owned other CON audio books in the past, including pure narrations like this one (the others were read by Michael Horden) or full cast dramatisations. I think Branagh's version is the best i've heard though: he has that sort of mellow english accent that fits the material plus of course he's a very good actor (he does a Scottish accent for the she-elephant and the jackdaw appears to be michael caine!)

Voice recordings, as opposed to the audio/visual combination of tv or movies have their own unique advantages. They have less of a sudden impact than do film versions (i remember being quite transported initially by the aesthetic qualities of the recent blockbuster) but because their appeal lies in the more substantial source of the reader's skill (and the authentic words of lewis-there were no horrendous liberties taken here) i expect my interest in them to last far longer.

This recording of MN is part of a series, btw, and I think the label is Harper Collins. I may well buy them all but I'm particularly interested in 'The Last battle' which is read by Patrick Stewart. Has anybody else listened to these or others they've been impressed by?
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Postby Larry W. » 25 Oct 2006, 22:57

I have an old set of LP records with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and The Silver Chair. The actors which read the abridged stories are Ian Richardson, Claire Bloom, and Anthony Quayle. Some of the audio clips on the multimedia page of this website are from those recordings. The actors' readings are lively and at times dynamic, but the recordings are each only about an hour long. I like them about as much as the Focus on the Family radio dramas, which are about two or three hours devoted to each book. The actors' readings, however, are well worth hearing if you don't mind the abridgements. It would be nice if they were longer, but they do include some of the highlights of the stories. I think they are still available on CD's and cassettes with readings from all seven books.

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Postby Sarah N. » 26 Oct 2006, 04:27

I haven't listened to any audio books of the Chronicles, but I did listen to the Space Trilogy on tape, read by Grover Gardner. I think this helped me appreciate these books more, because he reads very well, and I tend to read too fast if the action gets going. The steadiness of his reading helped me absorb the beauty of Lewis' prose. Also, the way he accented words when he spoke helped me see new meanings in sentences I might have passed over without notice if I were reading it on my own.
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Postby carol » 26 Oct 2006, 06:29

I haven't listened to a Talking Book, but have the set of Focus on the Family dramas. They are generally of a very high standard. - and enjoyable!
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Postby john » 26 Oct 2006, 09:51

We've had a few discussions about the various audio editions of CoN on here before, which I recommend reading.

One in particular:

http://cslewis.drzeus.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2066
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Postby Shadowland Dweller » 26 Oct 2006, 15:01

carol wrote:I haven't listened to a Talking Book, but have the set of Focus on the Family dramas. They are generally of a very high standard. - and enjoyable!


yay! I ordered the set (and am waiting impatiently again) for a sort of "family" christmas present, I wasn't sure if I wanted to though. I didn't want it to be cheesy......glad to know they are good.
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Postby Shadowland Dweller » 01 Nov 2006, 19:35

well I found out the downside to ordering christmas presents in Nov........ :rolleyes: :wink: I can't believe that not only do I have to wait to give the set, but I have to wait till I get to listen to them :tongue:
hmmmmm........maybe I should just wrap it up and give it to my hubbie for no other reason except I love him?? or, do you think he will suspect I have cheated and listened to them before him if the package is taped back together?? :toothy-grin:
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Postby Larry W. » 02 Nov 2006, 01:35

What a great Christmas present the Focus on the Family radio dramas would make! I bought mine all seperately because after purchasing one or two I decided I wanted the whole set. It was a little expensive, but I never regretted spending the money. So don't be surprised if you want it for yourself-- it's something that everyone who loves C.S. Lewis should own.

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Postby Shadowland Dweller » 03 Nov 2006, 04:05

Larry W. wrote:What a great Christmas present the Focus on the Family radio dramas would make! I bought mine all seperately because after purchasing one or two I decided I wanted the whole set. It was a little expensive, but I never regretted spending the money. So don't be surprised if you want it for yourself-- it's something that everyone who loves C.S. Lewis should own.

Larry W.


I found an unopened set for under $30 on Amazon, man alive was I happy about that! :grin: :grin: :grin:
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Postby Warrior 4 Jesus » 03 Nov 2006, 14:22

The Focus on the Family versions are excellent (besides the hideous Aslan voice and Puzzle the donkey).
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Postby Larry W. » 04 Nov 2006, 02:05

When I listen to the Focus on the Family dramas I sometimes imagine what they would have been like if they were made into movies instead of radio programs. It's like listening to an audio soundtrack of a great film without ever seeing the visual portion. You hear the actors speak their dialogue, and you wonder what they looked like as they performed their roles.

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My favourite was the Michael Hordern one!

Postby captainhaddock » 10 Nov 2006, 18:47

My all time favourite recording is the one by Michael Hordern with Marisa Robles doing the music.
This was done in the early 1980s, I think.
It was my very first introduction to the Chronicles, and Michael Hordern's reading is just wonderful, he has a very rich expressive voice which lends so much emotion to the sad bits and warmth to all. I always think of it as what C.S. Lewis would sound like, actually. And Aslan's voice is definately done well :wink:
Marisa Robles' harp is amazing and they use some flute as well. She composed some of the music and also used previously composed music such as the Moonlight Sonata for Aslan's death.
This is published by Harper Collins and on sale at Amazon!
I've heard the BBC one of The Magician's Nephew which I liked, but not half as much.
Fran :smile:
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Re: My favourite was the Michael Hordern one!

Postby Stanley Anderson » 10 Nov 2006, 20:45

captainhaddock wrote:My all time favourite recording is the one by Michael Hordern with Marisa Robles doing the music.
This was done in the early 1980s, I think.
It was my very first introduction to the Chronicles, and Michael Hordern's reading is just wonderful, he has a very rich expressive voice which lends so much emotion to the sad bits and warmth to all. I always think of it as what C.S. Lewis would sound like, actually. And Aslan's voice is definately done well :wink:


He was the wonderful voice of Mr. Badger in the nearly perfect (not even sure why I qualify it with "nearly" -- it IS perfect:-) Thames/Cosgrove production of the Wind in the Willows series, so if he is anything as good as he is there, it must be good indeed!

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…on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a fair green country under a swift sunrise.
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Postby Messenger_of_Eden » 15 Dec 2006, 04:14

I just finished listening to Pilgrim's Progress (the unabridged audio drama)--SO cool! :grin: I'm loading stuff on my iPod to listen to on my commute. Methinks I should get the CoN!!!
"If you believe what you like in the Gospel, and reject what you don't like, it is not the Gospel you believe, but yourself."--St. Augustine of Hippo
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Postby john » 15 Dec 2006, 08:39

Messenger_of_Eden wrote:Methinks I should get the CoN!!!


Methinks you are quite correct!
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