Thursday, October 27, 2011
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Faust (Abridged), Naxos Audiobook
Goethe's Faust has had a huge impact on both musical culture and the Western legacy at large. So it seems fitting that we mention a rather wonderful dramatic enactment of the work on a new Naxos Audiobook (0068). It's abridged, which is a fine thing since a full version would last a veritable eternity. In effect Naxos Audiobooks has done for Faust what some of the classic London recordings of the '60s did for opera. It conceives of the soundstage and special potential of the modern recorded medium and how they can heighten appreciation for the work in ways that the stage or the book format cannot.
So this production has very well conceived sound effects, music, voice alteration and excellent dramatic recitation by the actor-reciters. Listen straight through and you get a vivid experience of the Faust drama in ways you would not get in any other form. The English translation is melifluous and not stilted, and the recitation is terrific.
Anyone who has appreciated the various settings of Faust by Gounod, Berlioz, Schumann, etc., will revel in the full drama enacted in the spirit Goethe intended.
Of course this is a long work even in its abridged form. The ideal way to experience it first hand is in this audiobook. It makes what could easily be a bit of an ordeal an exciting and sonorously delightful experience, if you are a person of some patience.
Highly recommended. Paste this URL in your browser window to find out more or order a copy for yourself: http://www.naxosaudiobooks.com/0068.htm