It’s Burton for me every time and as an ex politician I’ve done a few funerals in my time where it’s been very appropriate. I used it myself in Wales conducting my brother Jake’s funeral near Laugharne where Dylan Thomas lived.mind you the music we used was Status Quo ! Jake was an old rocker!
Joint First: Richard Burton and Jonathan Pryce (who didn’t need that music).
Anthony Hopkin’s horribly synthetic music is too loud and Dylan Thomas sounds too luvvy. Strange.
Beautiful readings, all…personally not crazy about the New Age-y music accompanying two of them, but easy enough to ignore.
Ah, Norman, my all time favorite poet. Love him reading his own stuff. I started going occasionally to the White Horse Tavern about a year after he died. Would have loved to have been able to meet him.
They are all good, but the music in Sir Anthony Hopkins version is unendurable. Is it necessary to put background music during poetry readings anyway? I found Dylan Thomas a better reader of poetry than T. S. Eliot, who sounds rather dry in recordings. I believe alcoholics make better, more musical readers than sober individuals.
You’re not wrong about Eliot – a very dull reader. Give me Alec Guinness’s recordings of The Waste Land and The Four Quartets any day of the week… Sublime.
Try Jeremy Irons…pretty impressive.
It seems that alcoholics also make better poets.
Was Emily Dickinson a secret toper?
Not sure I can agree with you there, JB.
No, she was the great exception. But maybe she was so great because she overcame the temptation.
Don’t bother with the Stravinsky atonal setting of this very poem, for tenor string quartet and 4 trombones. Awful
The instruments are treated as in renaissance times, when brass instruments were so soft that they could easily balance the sound of strings.
It sounds very painful, which is the content of the poem, which is about the horror of slowly dying of old age, bereft of any spiritual perspective or consolation – a typical 20C state of mind:
So, the piece is a very true and authentic work, entirely tonal with expressive chromaticism, a master piece of summing-up in a nutshell the tragedy of the subject. What else could we wish for? The subject was very close to Stravinsky’s heart at the time, being old and getting frail and living in a Brave New World which was not his.
In case the poem is meant here as an encouragement for the old being visited by the corona virus, I’m not so sure whether it would have that effect.
Thomas was supposed to collaborate with Stravinsky on a theatre project, he visited the Stravinskys in Hollywood and slept on their sofa. Alas, he suddenly died before the project came to fruition.
What an incredible post–and of course the poet himself is the most impassioned reading–listen to how his voice trembles~
That trembling makes it oldfashioned-theatrical, not more expressive. It is like the tremulant stop on an organ, cheapening the effect of the sound.
In old recordings of theatrical texts, actors often use the drill of the tremulant to enhance the expressiveness instead of intensity, it was a method to compensate for lack of credibility.
Please log in again.
The login page will open in a new tab. After logging in you can close it and return to this page.