"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…

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Byron fan (not fanatic); poetry lover (not tragic); doctor of melancholia (not gloom).

One thought on “A sample recording Canto VI”

  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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