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Music and Silence (Contemporary Fiction) Audio CD – Abridged, Audiobook, Classical

4.1 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD: 6 pages
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks; Abridged edition (1 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9626349751
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626349755
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 12.1 x 14 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 660,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Rose Tremain's novels have won many prizes including: the Whitbread Novel of the Year (Music and Silence); the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Prix Femina Etranger (Sacred Country); the Sunday Express Book of the Year, the Angel Literary Award and shortlisted for the Booker Prize (Restoration) and a Giles Cooper Award (for her radio play, Temporary Shelter). Her novel The Colour, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and selected for the Daily Mail Reading Club promotion. In June 2007 Rose was made a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Rose Tremain deserves a Hallelujah chorus dedicated just to her: a decade after the appearance of Restoration--and with a range of stunning novels and short story collections before and after it--now comes her glorious and enthralling Music and Silence.

This treasure house of delights, as haunting as it is pleasurable, teems with characters, real and imagined; with intrigues, searches, betrayals, in vivid scene after scene which loop in and out, back and forth, like overlapping and repeated chords.

King Christian IV of Denmark is, in the year of 1630, living in a limbo of fear and rage for his life, his country's ruin, and his wife's not-so-secret adultery. He consoles himself with the weaving of impossible dreams and with music--played by his Royal Orchestra in the freezing cellar at Rosenborg while he listens in his cosy Vinterstue above. Music, he hopes, will create the sublime order he craves. Kirsten, his devious wife, is a continual maker of Beautiful Plans to outwit, avenge, feed her greed. And she detests music.

The awkward duty of assuaging the King's miseries falls to his English lutenist, Peter Claire, his "Angel", whilst Emilia Tilsen must bend to Kirsten's every whim. Yet what Peter and Emilia seek is each other, largely in silence both necessary and cruelly imposed. Other stories, each of them full of fabulous and often joyful and witty invention, intertwine through the Royal Court's machinations: the King's mother who hoards her gold in secret; his boyhood friend, Bror, a tormenting memory; the villagers who suffer and wait in the frozen Numedal; Emilia's mute young brother Marcus. And in Ireland, Johnnie O'Fingal, once a kind father and husband, is driven mad by hearing music of utter divinity in his dreams, but which neither he nor Peter Claire can make earthbound. His devoted but spirited wife has distracted herself with Claire, but now finds herself rejected. Palpable with desire and longing, this extraordinary narrative builds its grand themes in storytelling that is both profound and wonderfully satisfying. --Ruth Petrie --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Music and Silence is a wonderful, joyously noisy book. - Steven Poole, The Guardian She is the best historical novelist of her generation. She evokes the past with sensuality, wit and superb sleights of hand. - A. N. Wilson, Evening Standard The delicacy of this haunting, mythical novel is beautifully complemented by the three-voice narration and the intermittent Dowland and Byrd. It creates the mesmerising, unhappy worlds of Christian IV's Denmark, where his musicians play unseen in chilly cellars, and of crazed Count O'Fingal's Ireland, where he pursues a tune heard in his dream. - Rachel Redford, The Observer Rose Tremain is an even more arresting and atmospheric writer than Zafón, and much better at intricate plots. Her Music and Silence is told from three points of view, made more vivid on audio by the use of three narrators: Michael Praed, who projects the eccentric but guilt-haunted King Christian IV of Denmark (1577-1648), Alison Dowling, horrid as his strident, sex-obsessed consort Kirsten, and Clare Wille as the gushingly romantic Francesca, Countess O'Fingal. Linking them all is the lute player Peter Claire (cue apt Naxos lute music by Dowling and Byrd) and his ill-fated affair with Emilia, Kirsten's companion. - Christina Hardyment, The Times Michael Praed shines in his performance of Tremain's 1995 Whitbread Award-winning novel. His intimate, sensual voice and use of pacing even within sentences adds nuance to each scene. He has a distinct voice for each character, and his variety of accents are believable and without affectation. Especially engaging are the story's central characters: King Christian IV of 17th-century Denmark has the quiet, gravelly voice of age and profound sadness; the lutenist Peter Claire (the central love interest) is very appealing. Clare Wille expertly handles the emotional swings of Christian's childish, scheming and sex-crazed wife, Kirsten. The device of alternating voices becomes somewhat annoying in an abridgment, but the plot line is clear, and lovely 17th-century lute intervals signal omissions. - Publisher's Weekly English lutenist Peter Claire performs in the royal orchestra of King Christian IV's 17th-century Danish court, stirring the hearts of the principal women in this novel. Royal family dynamics are interwoven with love and lust as Claire catches the eye of the king and achieves a far-flung influence on a number of fronts his political clout reaches from a widowed Irish countess of Spanish origins to the workers in the Scandinavian silver mines. Chapters are interspersed with delicate lute chords, and the alternating voices of the readers animate the narrative of each of the main characters. Feminine and breathy, Alison Dowling and Clare Wille give velvety, expressive voices to the female characters' tales. Michael Praed's strong, unaffected speech depicts the intensity and desperation of the characters he portrays. Mortal danger and the prospect of tragedy build as the narrators deliver their spirited array of voices. --A.W. © AudioFile 2009

English lutenist Peter Claire performs in the royal orchestra of King Christian IV's 17th-century Danish court, stirring the hearts of the principal women in this novel. Royal family dynamics are interwoven with love and lust as Claire catches the eye of the king and achieves a far-flung influence on a number of fronts his political clout reaches from a widowed Irish countess of Spanish origins to the workers in the Scandinavian silver mines. Chapters are interspersed with delicate lute chords, and the alternating voices of the readers animate the narrative of each of the main characters. Feminine and breathy, Alison Dowling and Clare Wille give velvety, expressive voices to the female characters' tales. Michael Praed's strong, unaffected speech depicts the intensity and desperation of the characters he portrays. Mortal danger and the prospect of tragedy build as the narrators deliver their spirited array of voices. --A.W. © AudioFile 2009

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Tremain has created a masterpiece of historical fiction -- fascinating, informative, richly-detailed. She moves deftly between subplots and sites (Scandinavia and England).
Among the many characters both real and fictitious, Tremain enlivens one of the 17th century's most striking monarchs: Christian IV of Denmark, called the Sun King for the dazzling sweep of his ambitions. While reading this book I visited his tomb, outside Copenhagen. Music & Silence was the perfect introduction to the king and his world.
It's worth noting that readers in Denmark, more familiar with this history than I, have loved this book.
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Format: Paperback
In Music and Silence, Rose Tremain lyrically reproduces the rich fabric of seventeenth century Denmark as though she was there. As in Restoration, Tremain has succeeded in breathing the past into the book and still infusing the story, that of the court of Christian XV, with a contemporary elegance. The novel is narrated by four different narrators, all of whom are inextricably linked together. We see Kirsten Munk, the King's consort, who is adulterous, vicious and scheming. We also see one of her women, Emilia Tilsen, who is a meek young girl come to serve Kirsten Munk as one of her Women. The pivotal character, and indeed narrator, is perhaps Peter Clare, the lutenist and also the protagonist, who has been appointed the Kings' Angel, because of his good looks. Peter Clare falls in love with Emilia, but their love is soon stopped by the wicked Kirsten, who is banished from court by her husband, as he finally sees her for the evil that she is, thus deciding that if she is not to have any joy in her life, then neither can Emilia. Tremain directs the story with an eye to detail and wit and transports the reader to seventeenth century Denmark, where the air is crisp and smells of spiced wines. Without doubt, Music and Silence is one of the most beautiful, intricateley woven stories I have ever read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first Rose Tremain book that I've read; how I was impressed. 'Music and Silence' is a reminder of just how good the historical novel can be. Everything is here: a range of leading players all trapped in history or circumstance; old ghosts and secrets everywhere; madness, pomposity and all manner of outrageousness; magical realism in the Danish forests. Superbly crafted and easy to read - in the best sense of the phrase.
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Format: Paperback
The book opens in 1629, when Peter Claire, a young English lutenist, arrives to take up his post as a musician at the court of King Christian IV of Denmark. It then moves in a series of flashbacks and forward movements from this moment, both for Claire and for the King; for Kirsten Munk, the King's morganatic second wife; for Emilia Tilsen, one of Kirsten's young maid-servants; for the Countess O'Fingle in Ireland, whose husband is tortured unto madness by a tune he once heard and cannot recapture; for Marcus, Emilia's waif-like little brother; for Johann, her father in Jutland; and for the Rev. James Claire, Peter's father in Suffolk. For each of these characters Rose Tremain has created a distinctive style and voice, each a pleasure to read. She has great descriptive powers of people, place, and atmosphere. The personalities also, and the shifting relationships between them, are very distinctive: there is the huge, restless and tormented king, strangely confiding in Peter Claire; a truly monstrous regiment of women: the termagant and adulterous Kirsten, twenty-two years the King's junior, ruthlessly selfish and bullying all her attendants except for Emilia; Ellen Marsvin, Kirsten's mother; Sofia, the Queen Mother; and Magdalena, Marcus' wicked stepmother. Almost all the characters in the book are unhappy, and an air of sadness suffuses the whole novel.

Christian IV and Kirsten are certainly historical figures, as is the King's later mistress, Vibeke Kruse. Many times one feels sure that descriptions of the Danish court are based on historical research, as probably are the superstitious beliefs held by some of the characters.
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Format: Paperback
Music & Silence is a thoroughly good read.
As each perspective is presented, Tremain's characters fly on to the pages with a force and impact which can not be ignored and certainly not forgotten.
Each character is defiantly individual yet each one throws a cascade of light on to the psyche and situation of fellow protagonists.
The portrayal of King Christian and Kirsten anchors the novel.
King Christian, with his denouncement of 'shoddiness' proceeds to rule the country in a pretty shoddy manner. His ideal of a powerful Denmark and a loving Kirsten are crushed as he learns 'acceptance', the harshest and most important lesson that life teaches.
The bawdy, earthy Kirsten is highly entertaining, as is her obsession with unconventional and colorful sex, providing a rich counterpoise to the rather dreary Emilia. Kirsten is reminiscent of the early Melville but she seems completely bereft of soul (it being stolen at birth according to Danish myth).
Music & Silence perhaps lacks the shape and careful crafting of Restoration but throughout Tremain offers us a plethora of human truths and images on to which we can grasp, as the story line pounds on so magnificently.
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