Retail pak Listening Library 2001
CS ISBN 0807288837 $25.95 Four cassettes
CD ISBN 0807288845 $39.95 Five CDs
This is a beautifully packaged reissue of the 1988 BBC Radio production of Tolkien's fantasy adventure. The story of Bilbo Baggins and his adventures is brought to life by a full cast and is enhanced by an original score. The program is, unfortunately, very busy, with clashing voices, frenetic background sounds, and inadequate narration that fails to provide the listener with an intelligible sense of the action. The dialogue is performed in rapid-fire, high-pitched chatter, perhaps appropriate for the cast of elves, dwarves, and hobbits, but still irritating for the listener. The musical score--performed with Renaissance instruments by the Early Music Consort--provides an interesting backdrop to the story, and a fifth disc is included containing music only. Tolkien fans and BBC Radio drama collectors will cherish this lovely set. But most listeners will prefer Martin Shaw's reading of the fantasy classic for his clear, gentle, and expressive voice and for the length of the program, which runs two hours longer than the BBC production. S.E.S. (c) AudioFile 2001, Portland, Maine [Published: DEC/JAN 02]
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