Once again, the oldest tale in the English language is told in the newly released CD “Beowulf”. This time in a style familiar to the modern ear, and highly entertaining. The musical tale is based on the book “Beowulf The Warrior”, (Bethlehem Books) by the English author, and master wordsmith Ian Serraillier, with music by Sam Sorensen.
In this memorable adventure, Beowulf rescues King Hrothgar and the Danes from the ravages of monstrous horrors in a manner of compelling grandeur. The listener becomes acquainted with Beowulf’s strength, heroism and noble heart, as Serrallier reweaves the original tale into modern narrative verse, brandishing all the energy and vividness of the original. From over the grey Baltic, the wintry “whale-road”, to the dark and dripping caves of the misty moor, Sorensen’s powerful narration and inspired original score for orchestra and choir enhance the story each step of the way.
Here is a wonderful means to visit a treasure from 1200 years ago, and become enthralled. It is a work of art in itself, and a doorway for young and old to further experiences with the epic.
Mark Gordon, host of the KXLU – Los Angeles, radio program, Stage and Screen, commented on his show recently, “It’s clear Serralier has one of the most remarkable versions of the story Beowulf. Complex in nature, yet easy to understand, it engages the listener from start to finish. The audio quality on this recording is remarkable. Sorensen’s large orchestral score composed of vivid instrumental color and memorable melodies, reminds one at times of Shostakovich or perhaps in places Bartok, or Prokofiev. His narration is world class, similar to that of a Spartan King, as he tells the ancient tale of a monster, in a way that comes from a place of a noble spirit, rather than that of sheer horror. It is certainly a fun and masterful work…”
The Times (London) in a literary supplement wrote: “To venture on the story of Beowulf in verse, whether for children or adults, is a deed with its own kind of heroism… There must be a hundred ways of failing: Mr. Serralier has hit on one of the ways to succeed.”
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