The Revelation is a sobering work, and Heathcote Williams's narration of the Authorized, or King James, translation is a nice match of reader and text. The tone for the work is set by excerpts from Benjamin Britten's "War Requiem," which begins and ends the narration. Williams's voice is controlled and evenly modulated. The right amount of inflection provides emphasis but is never overdone.
The theme of revelation is apocalypse: the end of the world and the coming of Christ in judgment. The date of the composition was probably some time in the A.D. 90s. One of the most controversial and quoted texts of the New Testament, The Revelation of St. John the Divine has inspired and troubled artists, poets, and seers through the ages.
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- Don Abrán
An Example for Other Biblical Narrators to Follow
It is incredibly difficult to find a GOOD narration of the King James Bible - Heathcote Williams is an exception. Why? Let me count the ways:
1) an English accent is psychologically demanded by this Southerner in order to fully enter into the historical beauty of this translation - his is such an one;
2) the ability to appropriately "bring the characters to life" and to portray the emotions hinted to in the various contexts is what often makes or breaks the narrator - Mr. Williams has such an ability;
3) the serious listener desires a dramatic rendition, yet with lack of flippancy - such is the case here.
I will not go so far as to say that it is a perfect narration, but given the many narrators I've tried, Mr. Williams is by far the closest to the ideal that I have long sought after...my only real complaint is that he has not narrated more of the King James Bible.
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