"Odalisque" --- Adrien Henri Tanoux

A sample recording Canto VI

This project is gath­er­ing steam… or, some­thing pos­si­bly more ener­getic than steam.

Here is a sam­ple from my nev­er pre­vi­ous­ly released record­ing of Can­to VI of Byron’s Don Juan. It’s the first 61 vers­es that may give you some idea of what the whole record­ing will be like when, real soon nowTM, I release it.

Lis­ten to a sam­ple of Can­to VI  This .mp3 file is about 40Mb. If you pre­fer to DOWNLOAD the file (e.g. for your phone) just click on the down­load (down-arrow) but­ton or here if on a mobile device.

PLEASE USE YOUR HEAPHONES TO LISTEN (or high qual­i­ty exter­nal speak­ers). The excerpt is about 25 min­utes long… good for the com­mute, or doing the iron­ing. I’d real­ly appre­ci­ate your feed­back in the Com­ments!

Here’s a bit of con­text

The Story So Far

Juan’s moth­er — the prud­ish, con­trol­ling, Don­na Inez — dis­patch­es her 16-year-old son by ship to Italy at the end of Can­to I (in which the vir­ginal Juan has an affair with the gor­geous young wife of one of her for­mer lovers). The ship is blown off-course and destroyed in a ter­ri­ble storm. The sur­vivors, includ­ing Juan, take to a whale-boat only to drift for many days. Their sup­plies are exhaust­ed and, in des­per­a­tion, they turn to can­ni­bal­ism. All per­ish, in the end, save Juan who swims ashore on an iso­lat­ed Ion­ian island where, exhaust­ed and uncon­scious on the beach, he is found and revived by Haidée, the love­ly daugh­ter of the fero­cious pirate who owns the island.

Haidée and Juan become lovers. She “betrothes” Juan, falls preg­nant, and pro­pos­es to mar­ry him, believ­ing her father dead. But Lam­bro, the pirate, returns unex­pect­ed­ly in the midst of the mar­riage-feast. After a scuf­fle, his crew cap­ture Juan and sell him into slav­ery in the slave-mar­ket at Con­stan­tino­ple. Juan is, with­out ques­tion, a hunk. He is hard­ly put on the auc­tion-block before he is snapped-up by — it turns out — an agent for the fourth and most beau­ti­ful wife of the Sul­tan. Forced to wear wom­en’s gar­ments, dressed as a con­cu­bine, Juan is brought secret­ly in the night to the fab­u­lous Gul­bayez who wants him for her toy-boy. Her mur­mured invi­ta­tion, “Chris­t­ian, do you love?”.

The upright, sen­ti­men­tal Juan answers with tears! No, he can­not betray the vows he made to Haidée (who, he does not know, has died of love and loss). Then, just as this steamy, cross, poten­tial­ly cli­mac­tic scene is reach­ing a cri­sis, the Sul­tan fol­lowed by a pro­ces­sion of some of his 1500 oth­er con­cu­bines arrives. What a pret­ty new slave, he remarks before dis­miss­ing Juan and the rest of the female cho­rus to their Harem for the night.

  • Now, read on…

1 Comment

  1. Record­ing Don Juan is a phe­nom­e­nal under­tak­ing. I can­not begin to imag­ine the hours of record­ing and edit­ing that have gone into this. I am a lazy read­er, and a busy per­son who can’t sit still for 5 min­utes and I’ve nev­er man­aged a Byron poem. THIS is how I dis­cov­ered what a genius work Don Juan was. Audio books are a bless­ing for peo­ple like me and when read by Peter Gal­lagher, Byron’s wit and lit­er­ary charm comes to life. I am hooked.

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