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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dylan Thomas - Under Milk Wood Full Cast recording. Beautiful
This is the second BBC full cast recording of Dylan Thomas' most famous work Under Milk Wood, made in 1964. It retains most of the cast from the first recording, and, I'm told, restores some passages cut from the earlier version.

Richard Burton puts in one of his best performances as the narrator, with every syllable nuanced to perfection. It's so easy to just...
Published on 7 Aug 2009 by Victor

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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars More is less
I debated whether this should rank 2 or 3 stars and in the end settled on 2. Some may be puzzled how I could possibly rate the Richard Burton recording of Under Milk Wood as only 2 stars? The honest answer is that I don't, I rate it 5 stars, it's this recording/remix that I think deserves only 2.

The original version was beautiful (I've only ever heard the 1963...
Published on 20 April 2010 by S. Peacock


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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dylan Thomas - Under Milk Wood Full Cast recording. Beautiful, 7 Aug 2009
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under Milk Wood (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
This is the second BBC full cast recording of Dylan Thomas' most famous work Under Milk Wood, made in 1964. It retains most of the cast from the first recording, and, I'm told, restores some passages cut from the earlier version.

Richard Burton puts in one of his best performances as the narrator, with every syllable nuanced to perfection. It's so easy to just relax and let his wonderful, rich voice gently pull you in to the story. It's a part he was born for; he clearly had a great respect for the work and put all his wonderful talent into the part.

The story itself is the day in the life of a Welsh village, Llaregub, starting with the dreams of the villagers before they wake up, and then following an almost bewildering succession of characters through the day until night fall. A tale of every day lives and loves, exquisitely told.

The main star of the piece is Dylan Thomas' wonderful language. Not a word is out of place; each syllable is perfect and cannot be improved on. The text flows seamlessly even when jumping form character to character. The actors came together superbly to make this work as well in audio as it does on the written page, but without the painstaking agonising of Thomas over every word it wouldn't have worked.

An excellent purchase, I can't recommend this enough. It's just right for a rainy Sunday evening by the fireside.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but seek out the 1954 original if you can, 14 April 2009
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This review is from: Under Milk Wood (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
As others have pointed out, this version was recorded by the BBC in stereo a few years after the original mono broadcast - the cast was almost the same but not quite, and some cuts were restored. But there is something magical about the original recording which is still available from Naxos, so unless mono sound puts you off, I would say that's the one to go for.
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90 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great performance of a truly great work, 24 Oct 2003
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This review is from: Under Milk Wood (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
Under Milk Wood is one of the finest examples of writing you will ever read, or in this case hear. Words of such depth, lilt and lyrical rhythm that they take the breath away. It is genuinely difficult to find terms that do this masterpiece of the English language justice - so I will not try, just listen and be entranced by the magic of Dylan Thomas's unique genius.

To find a recording of this work that does it justice is rare indeed - and the BBC production on these CDs is as close to perfection as I have ever heard. This is the "Under Milk Wood" by which all others are judged and found wanting. Buy it. Listen to it. Please.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning, evocative and embracing audio experience, 13 April 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Under Milk Wood (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
The BBC recording of the 'play for voices' with Richard Burton as the lead narrator, is a wonderful creation. The story of South-West Wales fishing village, following the life of the village as a single day passes, it is a glorious composition of finely drawn characters. The word play is poetic, the inter-twined lives of the voices are surreal, the atmosphere is tangible. There is comedy and pathos as the author and the superb cast of voices draw out the stories within the village. It's best listened to in the dark, start to finish, in one sitting. Let the pictures flood through your mind; the words and voices are so evocative. Then read it to yourself, preferably with a well-annotated version that explains all the nuances and subtleties. You will not be able to read it without hearing Richard Burton's rich voice in your mind and seeing again the village, cascading down the hills to the little harbour, and every place within where a little drama is happening. Unforgetable.
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84 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Original 1954 recording with Richard Burton, all-Welsh cast., 4 Jan 2006
By 
Mary Whipple (New England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under Milk Wood (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
Written as a "play for voices" for the BBC, this historic audiotape features the all-Welsh cast of the original BBC production from 1954. Richard Burton is the First Voice, which connects all the characters, played by twenty-eight men, women, and children. With perfect diction and the sense of character which only a great actor can convey, Burton rolls his R's, modulates his voice in pitch and intensity, and makes Thomas's poetry come fully alive--full of alliteration and various kinds of rhyme, with nouns and adjectives used as verbs to convey action and sense impressions simultaneously, and always a wry humor and honesty of feeling.
Depicting one full day in the life of a small town in Wales, Thomas shows its motley residents as they awaken, perform their daily tasks, socialize, gossip, and daydream about the past that might have been and the future that may yet hold hope. When night falls and the residents retire, their losses and disappointments, along with their escapes into dreams, are given voice and poignancy. Polly Garter, with her numerous children by numerous fathers, dreams of Willie, a very small man who was the love of her life. Captain Cat, the blind bell-ringer, thinks of all the sailors he knew who died at sea. Mr. Pugh dreams of poisoning his wife, and young Gwenny, who has extorted pennies from the little boys who do NOT want to kiss her, plans for the next day and more pennies.
The sound effects provide context for the drama without overpowering the narrative--a cock's crow, the clip-clop of horses, the bark of dogs, footsteps, the sea, bell buoys--and simple songs add to the realism and the sense of character and place. A mournful tune performed by Polly Garter in a minor key, as she remembers Willie and compares him to her other lovers, is beautifully sung by Diana Maddox, her clear, bell-like voice and almost palpable sadness making her one of the most memorable of the characters. A humorous children's singing game, sung by local school children, gives added realism, and little Gwenny's song to three very young boys is delightfully cheeky. Both enchanting and historically important, this memorable recording is worth seeking through Used sites or through amazon.co.uk--the best recording ever made of this wonderful "play for voices." Mary Whipple
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic Golden Oldie, 3 Nov 2009
By 
Jonathan Fryer (Cornwall, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under Milk Wood (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
For years there were fragmented echoes of Richard Burton's voice in my mind from when I first heard this BBC adaptation of Under Milkwood. I found it was still available on Amazon for under eight pounds with free postage, so sent for it immediately.
Just close your eyes and sit back and listen as Richard Burton and the cast bring to life a day in that little Welsh town with the rich and rhythmic and beautiful words of Dylan Thomas. It really is just spellbinding.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Before you spend your money..., 26 Mar 2010
By 
A. Holliday (Adelaide Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Under Milk Wood (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
It needs to be emphasised that the recording here is the 1963 recording not the 1954 one. There are three (Burton) versions available: the original 1954 recording, the 1963 version (made when the BBC realised they had given away the best selling radio play of all time to Argo Records back in 1954!), and the 2003/1963 mix - Richard Burton (1963) edited into an otherwise all new performance.

To save everyone else the trouble I have just listened to all three (well listened to all three in one week) and there is absolutely no doubt that the best overall performance - BY FAR - is the 1954 one. Everyone in it is better than everyone in the others (including Burton himself - he seems to be on autopilot in the 63 version) and that's not to say that the later performances aren't good - because they are - just that the 54 recording trumps them completely. For purists the only advantage to the 63 version is that it is complete (the 2003 one is missing some children singing), but there is nothing significant missing from the 54 one (a longer version had been performed earlier in New York, but that wasn't the script the BBC were provided with).
So if you have a touch of OCD (as I seem to) get all three. Otherwise seek out the original...

POSTSCRIPT: if you are interested in hearing more than one version there are a couple of others definitely of interest. There's a late 1980s recording with Anthony Hopkins replacing Burton as First Voice. This was produced by George Martin (of Beatles/Goon fame) with all the bells and whistles - all the big (Welsh) names of the period, music, sound effects, full use of the stereo field etc. And very good (but different) performances all round. This is almost certainly the version the BBC were trying to emulate with the 2003 re-visited version.
Of even more interest, but a much poorer recording is the one and only performance with Dylan Thomas himself as First Voice. This was a read-through on stage in 1953. The recording is not of professional standard but is very clear and not difficult to follow at all. Apart from the sheer historical value and interest of hearing how Thomas performed his own piece (its not just him of course, there's a cast for the other characters) it was recorded with an audience. An audience that were just hearing a new play, rather than responding to a revered classic. It makes a big (and revealing) difference. For a start you discover there's a lot more jokes in the 2nd half than you might think!

In short, if you're interested in more than one version I'd recommend the 1954 Burton version, the 1988 Hopkins version and the original 1953 Thomas performance. Each is wonderful in its own way and reveals new facets to the play. And best of all, they're all easy to get hold of.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Burton and Thomas go together like strawberries and cream!, 5 Aug 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Under Milk Wood (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
This is probably the best audio book ever published. If, like me, you have had trouble with Dylan Thomas on the printed page, listen to this in the dark, late at night, and you will understand every nuance of the play as it leaps from the stereo at you. The combination of the two most famous alcoholic Welshmen is an utter inspiration, and hardly a day has past since I first heard this recording in which I have not been reminded of it by some chance encounter or overheard remark, (even here in Japan).
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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb is the only word for it!, 4 Feb 2002
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This review is from: Under Milk Wood (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
A classic of vintage (1963) radio drama at its best. Everything, words, music and atmosphere blend faultlessly.

Any lovers of Dylan Thomas, or Richard Burton, or any of the magnificent cast, this is for you to enjoy. It's fabulous.

(If I have any reservations at all it is just this: the original version, from 1954, is actually better for being ten minutes shorter and for dividing the role of Narrator between Richard Burton and Richard Bebb as FIRST VOICE and SECOND VOICE ... It's still available as part of 'The Essential Dylan Thomas' - 4 CDs from Naxos at astonishingly good value - and is well worth having.)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The voice of Richard Burton and the best play ever, 25 July 2011
This review is from: Under Milk Wood (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
Superb recording, I have listened to this so many times now and will listen more again - the voice of Richard Burton is superb, it gives so much life to the recording. The writing of Dylan Thomas and his imagination is legendary. If you have never listened to Under Milk Wood you are missing so much - check it out you will not be disappointed.
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Under Milk Wood (BBC Radio Collection)
Under Milk Wood (BBC Radio Collection) by Dylan Thomas (Audio CD - 2 April 2001)
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