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  • odzer@aol.com
    On the subject of audio recordings of books, what do folks here think of the readings of JRRT himself, reading from LOTR and the Hobbit? Has anyone here not
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 4 11:18 AM
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      On the subject of audio recordings of books, what do folks here think of
      the readings of JRRT himself, reading from LOTR and the Hobbit? Has anyone
      here not had the opportunity? I was overwhelmed with joy at discovering the
      wonderful new nuances this provides, and also pained that there were no
      further attempts made at recording other passages when these came out so
      well, and Tolkien himself felt he was a good dramatic reader, and understood
      that it took training, like a musician with his instrument, to really use the
      human voice well in dramatic readings( he mentions this in one of the
      letters).
      So, does anyone have concrete info or even speculations as to why no other
      recordings were ever made? I am reluctant to hear any other audio recordings
      of Tolkiens work as I fear they can only come up short in contrast. However,
      I wonder if the right actor, (Ian MacKellen comes to mind, the late Alec
      Guiness also) could do almost as good a job of it. Judi Dench did a nice job
      too. Any other nominations? Christopher Tolkien's readings are good, but
      somehow his vocal tone does not quite satisfy me, maybe coming right after
      hearing his fathers voice puts an unfair burden of expectation on it.( I am
      referring to the three tape series of which two are done by JRRT, one by
      Christopher)
      Tolkien selected some of his favorite passages to read,( esp the arrival
      of the host of Rohan to break the siege of Minas Tirith which he mentions
      elsewhere as a passage he found to be especially moving, and almost all of
      the verse is covered). I am curious what other passages people would
      especially want to hear Tolkien himself read. I might vote for hearing some
      of Tom Bombadil, or of Treebeard (we do get some of him chanting to the
      Hobbits ). Some orc dialogue? Also, some of the descriptive passages, such as
      in the passage of the dead marshes, or Frodo and Sam in Mordor? Certainly
      Gollum's near repentance in the path above Minas Morgul. And how would
      Tolkien read the voice of the Lord of the Nazgul at the broken gate of Minas
      Tirith?
      Sometimes I have tried to read aloud in my mind from LOTR and blend in my
      memory of the sound of Tolkien's voice, which somewhat works for me-but his
      choice of which words to stress and rising and falling tones...I can't know
      for sure how that would go, though some clues come from hearing the extant
      passages.

      ever curious,

      John Potts
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