For the increasing numbers who never had an opportunity to see Burton on stage, hearing him read poetry is one way of discovering what all the fuss is about. With one or two exceptions, his film work is mediocre, but in these narrations the depth of his intellect, his passion for words and his magnificent vocal skills give us not only beautiful versions of some wonderful poems, but also a splendid portrait of a great artist in his finest medium. Highly recommended.
Ralph Richardson may have been less feted that his great contemporaries, Olivier and Gielgud, but a study of their respective canons shows him to be easily their equal. In this collection his magnificent vocal skills combine perfectly with Blake's visionary work to provide a splendid product. The warmth and clarity of Richardson's tone bring a deep humanity to these readings, a quality which couples perfectly with Blake's own deepest concerns and intentions. Rather fine, actually.
As in his Blake collection, Ralph Richardson illuminates Coleridge's masterpieces with warmth, intelligence and humanity. His "Ancient Mariner" is a towering alternative to the famous and better known version by Richard Burton, but his "Kubla Khan" is a stand alone masterpiece. Thoughtful, considered and extraordinarily skilful, this is poetry reading of a kind which has vanished from the contemporary world. Truly splendid.