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NA211412 - FLYNN, B.: Adventures of Odysseus (The) (Unabridged)
THE ADVENTURES OF
When Paris, Prince of Troy, stole the most beautiful woman in the world, Helen of Sparta, from her husband, it was an insult that could not be left unavenged. From all over Greece, warriors in their thousands, and their tens of thousands, descended on Troy to rescue her. Great heroes and brave men fell in that bitter struggle, but after ten long years the walls of Troy still stood, and still the Greeks remained in their great camp on the plain below the city. Then suddenly the Greeks were gone. In the middle of the night, without a sound, they launched their ships and left the camp deserted. All that remained was a huge wooden horse, a gift to the gods from the Greeks.
Victory was theirs at last, thought the Trojans, the war was over, and
they wheeled the horse through the gates of the city to celebrate. But the wooden horse contained a terrible secret. Under cover of darkness Greek warriors emerged from their hiding place inside its belly. The Trojans had no warning of the attack. No time to gather their soldiers together as more Greek warriors poured into the city. Troy fell to the Greeks in a flash of flame and a splash of blood.
The Adventures of Odysseus is the story of what happened after that; how Odysseus, the most cunning of all the Greek heroes, left Troy and made his way back home to his wife Penelope and his son Telemachus.
A poet named Homer nearly three thousand years ago first told it. Homer wandered from town to town in Ancient Greece reciting his poem; everyone — noblemen, merchants, farmers — would pay to listen to him. The Tale of Troy, the story of the war between the Greeks and the Trojans and how it begins comes to us through The Iliad, another poem that Homer would recite, so called because Ilium was another name for Troy.
Both poems tell of a time before even Homer lived, when bronze, not iron, was used for weapons. It was a Heroic Age. Gods and mortals mingled and wonderful deeds were done. Yet the poems are not all fairy story; there really was a city called Troy.
Odysseus takes a long time to reach home because he angers Poseidon, the god of the sea. The gods were very real for the people to whom Homer recited his poems. They were the way the ancient Greeks explained their world. They believed the gods were always around them. Mostly they were invisible or disguised, and they constantly interfered in human affairs. The gods might call up a good wind or a storm or send a mortal to sleep. If something strange happened a god was probably behind it.
Athene, the goddess of wisdom and courage, was Odysseus’ special
protectress. Zeus, the thunderer, was the father of the gods, and the most powerful. He sat enthroned on Mount Olympus from where he ruled the stormy sky with his thunderbolts. Heroes were the children of a mortal and a god. Odysseus counted Zeus as one of his ancestors, but he was a different kind of hero. He was strong and brave like other heroes, but his most important quality was his cunning. Odysseus was the last of the Greek heroes. After him, the gods no longer mixed with mortals. When Odysseus arrived home the age of legends ended and history began.
Notes by Benedict Flynn
Benjamin Soames trained at LAMDA. Since then he has been active on both stage and screen, appearing in the popular television series Sharpe and Absolutely Fabulous as well as the television films Heavy Weather and England, My England. He has toured worldwide in the acclaimed Cheek By Jowl production of Measure For Measure.
The music on this cassette taken from the NAXOS and MARCO POLO catalogs
MAHLER SYMPHONY NO l 8.550522
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra, Michael Halasz
SCHUMANN SYMPHONY NO 3 8.553082
Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra (Katowice), Antoni Wit
GLAZUNOV STENKA RAZIN 8.553538
Moscow Symphony Orchestra, Konstantin Krimets
KHACHATURIAN GAYANNE SUITES NOS 1-3 8.550800
St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra, Andre Anichanov
D’INDY ORCHESTRAL WORKS 8.223659
Wurttemberg Philharmonic, Gilles Nopre/Jean-Marc Burfin
BLISS FILM MUSIC 8.223315
Czecho-slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava), Adriano
DEBUSSY NOCTURNES 8.550262
BRT Philharmonic Orchestra, Brussels, Alexander Rahbari
Music Programming by Nicolas Soames
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