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Music and Silence

Narrated by: Jenny Agutter
Length: 18 hrs and 27 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (135 ratings)

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Summary

Winner of the Whitbread Novel of the Year, 1999.
Winner of the Costa First Novel Award, 2008.
A Radio 4 Book Club Selection.

In the year 1629, a young English lutenist named Peter Claire arrives at the Danish Court to join King Christian IV's Royal Orchestra. From the moment when he realizes that the musicians perform in a freezing cellar underneath the royal apartments, Peter Clair understands that he's come to a place where the opposing states of light and dark, good and evil, are waging war to the death.

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©1999 Rose Tremain (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average customer ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A great listen

I normally avoid "historical" novels, and only decided to download this having read "The Colour" and "Sacred Country". I was so impressed with Rose Tremain's writing that I gave this a go. And I am glad I did.

A really interesting story .. on the surface about events during two years surrounding the breakdown of the marriages of King Christian, and associated subplots (which are really the main plots). But like Rose Tremain's other novels: lots of insights into the nature of what makes life interesting and worth living. How to create meaning, happiness... ...very existential stuff , and some great quotes . Beautiful writing. Loved both the "goodies" and the "baddies".

Jenny Agutter is masterful in her rendition of this book.. Beautifully read and a joy to listen to. She captures the essence of the characters really well, from the prickly and nasty Kirsten to the daydreaming Marcus.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Sublime Book

I am bereft having finished listening to this wonderful book. Jenny Agutter's narration transported me to ancient Denmark with its cast of robust and sympathetic characters, I loved them all even the awful ones! It made me yearn to learn more- one of the best books ever!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Held by the reader

This is the sort of book I admire but don't enjoy and I know had I read it on the printed page I would have given up on it. Although everything links together, the plot is built up on multiple narrators, some of whom I found more interesting than others. Jenny Agutter's wonderful reading of it lulled me through the more stolid bits and carried me firmly through the engrossing parts. It is no doubt a beautifully written and thought -provoking book. However it is bleak and at the time this didn't suit my mood, so for me to say I was glad that I listened to the whole book is praise. This is a very biased review, but I would say if you are really struggling after an hour or so, you are going to have an uphill battle.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Ms
  • 09-06-16

Brilliant

I absolutely loved this book. It is compulsive, fascinating and beautifully narrated, what bliss and sad for it to end. What can I listen to now that this wonderful story is over.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

It doesn't miss a beat!

Like all of her stories, life and emotion in all its diversity, immerse me in the time, the people and the events.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Kirsten is Christina

The notion of the true story of King Christian IV of Denmark set in the year of 1630 as 'racy' seems a bit of a stretch, but Rose Tremain through the character of Kirsten or Christina Munk pulls it off. Lots of plots and sub plots, great storytelling from a writer who was new to me - really enjoyable. Jenny Agutter's performance is great as well, she has the perfect voice for this one - a pleasure in itself.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Quality, Quality, Quality

I have just completed my listening/reading of Music and Silence and it massively reinforces for me the trust that I have come to place in Rose Tremain. I did not find this a comfortable book, but I did find it compelling. Tremain has a genuine capacity to get into characters' heads, so sharing their worlds and thoughts with us. She also shows her wonderful thoughtfulness in expressing things in a way that makes you say, "Yes, she's right." There is much to enjoy in this novel, and there is warmth too - though there are some upsets. The novel resolves itself and there is no bitter after-taste. I listened to the novel at 1.25 speed, even then there were some odd pauses, but not enough to ruin the flow. The narrator does well with foreign names. (If this novel ever comes to be re-recorded it would fly in the hands of Fenella Woolgar.) Straight after reading this novel I bought two further Rose Tremain audiobooks; what better testimony?

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Marvelous

This book merits all the accolades that have been thrown at it already and I are my own unremitting enjoyment from start to finish

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Unique but may not be for everyone.

A fairytale with adult twists. Wonderful language. There were times when I felt it was slow and the melancholy overwhelming. I enjoyed it for its uniqueness.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cariola
  • 30-04-09

Can Rose Tremain Write a BAD Book?

From my experience so far, the answer would have to be a resounding, "NO!" Tremain gets just right the mix of opulence and stringency, melancholy and joy, hope and despair that war with one another in the 17th century court of King Chistian of Denmark. All of her characters may not be likeable (the selfish Kristin, for one, and Tillson's second wife Mordalena, for another); but each one is unique and fascinating in his or her own right. What is Music and Silence about? The disappointment of love--and the perseverance of love. The power of art and the power of words. Family dynamics that can almost destroy its members yet somehow manages to pull them together. The influence of the past and the persistence of memory. And so much more. To give you any more details, if you haven't read this beautiful novel, would spoil the experience. Highly recommended!

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sheryl Mullins
  • 12-04-15

Very entertaining story

I was thoroughly captivated by this book. I felt the characters to be described beautifully, so that I could practically picture each one. Sometimes the back and forth was confusing and the audio was a bit trickier to back up and review, but the chapter deliniations were perfectly spaced. Can't wait for our book club discussion!