ClassicsOnline Home » PEAKE, M.: Gormenghast (Abridged) > Review List

PEAKE, M.: Gormenghast (Abridged)

Author(s):Peake, Mervyn
Artist(s) Degas, Rupert, Reader
Genre Spoken Word
Category Classic Fiction
Catalogue NA0062
Label Naxos AudioBooks
Quality   48kbps

Titus, Earl of Groan, is becoming aware of a world beyond the suffocating confines of Gormenghast, bound by centuries of tradition into a pattern of decaying rituals. He yearns for freedom. Meanwhile the amoral Steerpike continues to forge his way into a position of power, leaving death in his wake and nearly dying in the process. But his rise places him at odds with Titus himself; and only one will survive.

This award-winning sequel displays all of Mervyn Peake’s imaginative brilliance in creating and sustaining the extraordinary world of Gormenghast.


Review By Joanna Theiss ,Sound Commentary,June 2011

Clear distinctions between good and evil are so rare in real life, that it is sometimes comforting to know whether to cheer or hiss at a character before you have heard more than a few lines about them. Gormenghast, the second in a series of three gothic novels by writer Mervyn Peake, draws such a clear line between the righteous and the damned that the listener knows which is which when they hear their names: from the malevolent, power-hungry and cunningly manipulative Steerpike, to Dr. Alfred Prunesquallor, the smart aleck doctor of Castle Gormenghast. Even the name of the castle calls to mind how it is later described: dark, dank, foreboding, with many hidden passageways for hiding wrongdoing. The family who lives here, and the hero of this tale, are aptly named Groan:

The listener’s appreciation for the clear demarcation between good and evil is also brought into sharp focus by narrator Rupert Degas’ exceptional reading. Degas displays a wide range of accents, vocalizations, and tones, from somber, when he is describing the foreboding castle, to wild and agitated, such as in the final scenes, which are filled with an appropriate showdown between the forces of good and evil, now evident to all the colorfully-named characters. Many male narrators often have difficulty depicting women, since too high a pitch can sound like mockery, while too low can erase any difference between male and female voices. Degas has no such trouble: his vocalization is so expressive and varied that he is able to actually lower his pitch for a female character, such as the Countess Gertrude, Titus’ mother, who is an imposing but largely reclusive woman until largely disaster requires her assertive leadership; or raise it when depicting the squeaking laughter of Dr. Prunesquallor. Gormenghast is abridged and the second in the series, but its simple themes and straightforward plot meant that these factors did not draw away from this colorful work of fantasy.



Affiliates  |  Classical Points  |  Press Room  |  About Us  |  Contact Us  |  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy

ClassicsOnline Newsletter Archive

Monthly Features on ClassicsOnline

Why choose ClassicsOnline?
ClassicsOnline is your source for classical music new releases, rare catalog, historical recordings and exclusive bargains. Our vast classical music catalog has over 1 Million tracks from more than 50,000 albums available in DRM-free MP3 (320kbps) and FLAC (lossless format). More than 500 new albums are added each month, all of which are carefully indexed, and searchable by Composer, Artist, Work and Label. Membership is free, and registration includes 5 free tracks for download. Get a free track every week and gain access to exclusive classical deals when you subscribe to our newsletter. ClassicsOnline was honored in 2010 as the Best Classical Download Site by the MIDEM Classical Awards Jury.

Some titles may not be available in all countries because of possible copyright or licensing restrictions.

Copyright © 2015 Naxos Digital Services Ltd. All rights reserved. – Your Classical Music Download Source
7:40:19 AM Tuesday, December 01, 2015  -207-
This site is now closed, but it has been replaced with our exciting new service ClassicsOnline HD•LL.   x
Continue to buy your downloads at our new store, which now offers all content in lossless CD quality  
formats, in addition to MP3, and thousands of high-definition titles. To learn more, click here.  
Note that previously registered customers may still login to view their accounts until further notice.  

ClassicsOnline customers will not be able to use their log in to access the new HD site. Please create a new ClassicsOnline HD•LL account to download albums, subscribe to streaming, create playlists and more!