About the Don Juan Project

I first record­ed Can­to 1 of Don Juan, on a whim, for the pub­lic domain audio-library Lib­rivox, in 2006. I bought a Sure micro­phone, a stand and a dig­i­tal inter­face to my Mac, that I set up in the office of my Mel­bourne apart­ment. I read the Can­to through, in parts, over a day or so and record­ed it; edit­ed out the errors, re-record­ed bits and uploaded the file in sev­en parts.

It has had about 73,000 down­loads since the end of Novem­ber 2006. Try it out… But wait until you hear the lat­est ver­sion!

My idea was to read the “main” parts of Can­to I with­out the fiery Ded­i­ca­tion or the epi­logue beyond verse 203. The first I thought would not inter­est a mod­ern audi­ence that prob­a­bly had no idea who “Castel­reagh” was nor why Byron should hate him so and could care less about a nine­teenth cen­tu­ry lit­er­ary con­tro­ver­sy between Byron and the “Lak­er” poets (Wordsworth, Coleridge). As for “Southey”? Who he?

I’m now a much big­ger fan of the won­der­ful­ly sple­net­ic Ded­i­ca­tion, although it still prob­a­bly needs an his­tor­i­cal gloss for many read­ers.

I also omit­ted the final twen­ty-odd vers­es from the orig­i­nal record­ing because I thought they were an anti-cli­max to the rest of the poem. Rather like the last triv­ial, moral­is­ing scene of the Mozart-da Ponte Opera “Don Gio­van­ni”; there, in the din­ing room imme­di­ate­ly after the stat­ue of the Com­menda­tore drags the wicked Gio­van­ni down to hell, the minor char­ac­ters gath­er to praise whole­some­ness and con­ju­gal mod­esty.Blah!

But the new ver­sion will con­tain the whole Ded­i­ca­tion and Can­to; every word!

 

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