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Recording for LibriVox

I’ve mentioned LibriVox quite a few times on this blog, but although I’ve been carrying out my duties as an admin on the site, I haven’t recorded anything for a long time. Someone posted a rather nice comment about an earlier recording recently which inspired me to get out my microphone again. Tonight I recorded, edited and uploaded chapter 6 of The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde. This was the chapter in which Lord Henry persuaded Dorian Gray that he should feel no guilt for Sybil Vane’s suicide. We, of course, know better. Dorian treated a young, impressionable girl brutally, and the effects of that brutality showed up in the infamous portrait. Dorian has so little conscience that he is inclined to regard the portrait as the means of conducting an experiment to see how his moral choices affects his appearance in the portrait. Lord Henry is beginning to be revealed as almost psychopathically uninterested in other people’s welfare. The more I think about the content of this chapter, the less I like these two people.

The challenge, as a reader, is to find suitable voices for these rather unpleasant people. I made the decision early on that Dorian’s voice wouldn’t change throughout the book, to reflect the unnatural preservation of his body while the depiction in the portrait becomes more and more dissolute. I try to make Lord Henry sound bored and drawling, pleased with himself, purring like a cat with cream, or maybe even with a mouse. It has been a long time since I recorded chapter 5, so I was very glad that I kept some samples of how the main characters were voiced.

Now that I have re-broken the ice, I hope to be recording much more in the coming days. I have another long project on the go, the letters of Robert and Elizabeth Browning, in which I am reading the part of Robert, and a colleague on LibriVox, russiandoll, is reading the part of Elizabeth. This is a much larger work, and will take a lot more effort, but the individual letters are much shorter than normal chapters, so they make nice fill-in reading for when I can’t manage anything more substantial.

All that, and I had a long chat over a coffee with an old friend: a good day.

{ 6 } Comments

  1. Jeanne | 24 March 2010 at 1:14 am | Permalink

    Chris–what is librivox, for those of us who are new to your blog? And what happens to the recordings?


  2. icyjumbo | 24 March 2010 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    Jeanne, LibriVox is a web site founded by Hugh McGuire in 2005 with the mission “to record all the books in the public domain, and make them available for free on the Internet.” In other words, LibriVox is to audiobooks what Project Gutenberg is to paper books. Volunteers come together to record books, some as collaborative projects, where a different person could read each chapter, and others as solos or duets. We have recorded over 3000 works since LV was founded, with the last year accounting for over 1000 of them. I think we are now releasing more than 24 hours worth of audio every day on average, meaning that no individual could ever listen to all that we record, even if they never slept.

  3. russiandoll | 24 March 2010 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Chris, I have a recording session planned for this afternoon and Elizabeth heavy on my conscience! Looking forward to doing some more, and delighted to hear you’re recording again too.

    I enjoy and admire the blog greatly, although I’m afraid been lurking rather than commenting, and think of you and Gillian very often.

    ‘Ever yours, my dear friend’,

  4. icyjumbo | 24 March 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Phil, there are a couple of Robert’s sections already uploaded, so you’ll have something to keep you occupied if I get bogged down with Dorian Gray. I am looking forward to moving on with Robert and Elizabeth’s letters.

    ‘Vivi felice, my dear friend,’


  5. Veronica | 26 March 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    David introduced me to Librivox some months ago now, and the recordings are a delightful way to spend the sleepless hours of the night. Thank you and your fellow contributors for the pleasure you give.

  6. icyjumbo | 26 March 2010 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Veronica. I’ll pass on this message to the LV community, so they’ll get it direct. They’ll be as chuffed as I am.