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Robin F. Whitten
AudioFile, December 2006

A nice package to keep on hand for Christmas listening or a gift. The program includes a sprightly reading of A CHRISTMAS CAROL by Anton Lesser that highlights Dickens's language with beautiful tone and pacing. An eclectic and esoteric collection of literary snippets, poems, and quotations compiled by Christina Hardyment as "The Christmas Collection" is the companion to the Dickens. An ensemble of mostly British actors alternates the narrations of these amusing, thoughtful, and somber selections. Sources include Samuel Pepys's diary (John Moffat), Yeats's "The Magi" (Peter Jeffrey), and a WWII soldier's Christmas Eve letter (David Timson). Some are very short; others, like the ensemble piece from an 1863 Mummers play, under ten minutes each. Listeners will be thankful for Naxos's excellent liner notes identifying each piece.





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