The UHQ Nasanta's Reviews > The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
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Apr 25, 12

bookshelves: read-books-2012, book-almost-but-not-quite, could-have-been-better, format-audiobook, genre-poetry, own, reviewed
Read on April 25, 2012 — I own a copy, read count: 1

2.5 - 3 stars

Narrated by Richard Burton, John Neville, and Ralph Richardson

I have a confession to make. When audiobooks come with music, particularly music I like, I am more apt to purchase it. So was the case with this version of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner". I had been persuaded into purchasing it after listening to the sample and liking the music. I had never read this poem before so I didn't know what it was about. With the music, the sound effects, and the "stoppeth" and "mayst", it was barely 5 minutes into the performance when I hastily downloaded a text copy of this poem on to my phone (thank God for Project Gutenberg!). With the text before my eyes and my ear buds firmly plugged in, I trudged along to class (dodging the people around me), actually able to semi-understand what this poem was about.

This audio production of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" isn't a typical reading. It felt more like an adaptation which, while faithfully following the text of the poem, did take artistic license to increase the drama by the occasional repetition of phrases at the end of certain stanzas to the accompaniment of the music, and long pauses before lines while the music played. The narrators did a fairly good job. They are all new to me and I really don't know who spoke what parts although I think Richard Burton spoke the lines of the Mariner. His deep and sonorous voice helped to set the mood. An unfortunate aspect I noticed was this echoing sound of at least one of the narrators, which sounded as if the narrator was not very close to a microphone. It made me have to focus on his words a bit more to make sure I heard him clearly.

The original music by David Moore was...interesting. I had liked the music set to the beginning of the poem when the Wedding Guest is stopped by the Mariner. Then it got a bit strange. It was a eclectic mix of classical, some sort of modern, jazz, etc. A few times I could agree with the musician's musical interpretation of the lines, but most times I was like, "What the heck?" This was a particular reaction of mine in the beginning of the Seventh Part of the poem, which is about 20 minutes or so to the end of the audiobook. There were sound effects, most notably the sound of waves. While I thought this performance of "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" was interesting in its artistic and stylistic endeavors, and while the narrators were all audible over the sound of music and sound effects, I did occasionally feel that the background sounds were distracting and overwhelming. Instead of remaining in the background, the sounds actually seemed to compete with the narrators as if they were additional and equal characters in this performance.

This wasn't a bad production. It was certainly different and interesting. But it could have been better.
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