Sight-reading, rhythm, recording…

Coping with the abstractions of music, when teaching, often relies on analogy to help pupils grasp otherwise elusive ideas. Consequently, you end up with a bank of ideas of all the things to which music seems comparable. However, this doesn’t often run the other way round – and, in my experience, people using music as an analogy for something else often don’t quite hit the spot.

Listening to Radio 4’s Open Book the other day, I caught an article about a new, unabridged audio book version of George Eliot‘s Middlemarch. At nearly 36 hours on 28 CDs, recording this 800-page novel is a gargantuan task. The reader, Juliet Stevenson, completed it in 12 days – a feat of which many musical recording artists would be extremely proud. She talks here about the many features involved – notably rhythm (of character and also of writer), inhabiting character, and coping with paragraph-long sentences – scroll forward to 19′ 20”

p.s. if this doesn’t seem like a big deal, why not try recording yourself reading a few paragraphs?

3 thoughts on “Sight-reading, rhythm, recording…”

  1. I happened to stand next to Juliet Stevenson at the carousel at Heathrow one day.
    She was on my plane from Prague. I said I had enjoyed her in ‘Truly Madly Deeply’
    She is very natural and a lovely person. (a bit like out very own Juliet)
    She asked me about the political situation and how my friends were coping after the ‘velvet revolution’.
    I asked her what had taken her to the then ‘Czeechoslovakia’ and she told me she was filming The Trial
    with Anthony Hopkins. What she did not tell me was she was in London to collect a prize for a theatre
    performance. (I heard that on TV)
    I have so much respect for this lady. Her ability to adapt her acting skills to any type of character
    is amazing….especially as her voice is unmistakable, but she draws you into the character.

  2. and to add to my admiration for this actress….
    I have a friend who is blind and I am sure she would love
    a copy of this audio book….yet another positive aspect of Juliet’s
    personality that she gives up her time to do these recordings.
    36 hours of recording….what a nice lady she is!!

  3. …and what good taste she has choosing to do
    this wonderful book Middlelmarch.

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