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on 9 November 2010
I have been a fan of Mike Batt's "Hunting of the Snark" since I first saw the excellent musical of it in 1991 a couple of times. I was very sad it closed after several weeks and no one will be able to understand why after they hear this excellent recording. I'm pleased the concept album has been reissued as I hope it will generate extra interest and I think the sound quality is a little better. My favourite songs are the Introduction, Children of the Sky, Midnight Smoke and the Escapade. The DVD is very enjoyable as I never saw the concert screened on TV. Billy Connolly is surprisingly good in the role as the Bellman, and so are the others. Also my favourite tunes are on the menu backgrounds. I am thrilled to see in the CD notes that Mike Batt will probably record the whole score and issue it in a few years time as the missing songs from this CD are truly brilliant too. I just hope this package will mean there is more to come with regard to the Snark. If anyone is interested, a song missing from this CD called "Whatever You Believe" has been recorded by Finbar Wright.
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on 10 November 2010
Yes it is finally back after years of promise. This is a fabulous star-studded concept album. There are two discs in this set. Dramatico have finally re-released the original album but now bundled with a DVD of the concert. The first disc is the CD of the wonderful, wonderful concept album narrated by Sir John Guilgud and John Hurt and featuring great vocal performances by Roger Daltrey, Art Garfunkel, Julian Lennon, Cliff Richard, Mike Batt, Captain Sensible, Denice Williams and Maggie Reilly and instrumental performances from Stephane Grappelli (violin), George Harrison (guitar) and Chris Spedding (guitar). What a cast! I cannot recommend this CD too much!! And then, to top that, the second disc is a DVD of the hour long TV Concert version of the album at The Royal Albert Hall featuring many of the artists from the original album, with some replaced by Billy Connolly, Justin Hayward and Midge Ure. BRILLIANT.

I saw the shortlived full length London West End theatre show (not the hour long concert version) which was prematurely closed due to idiot critics who don't know a great thing when they see it. I asked at the box office for the best single seat they had and found myself sat next to the master, Mike Batt himself. I was so in awe, I was unable to strike up an appreciative conversation - something I regret to this day. A great show - and a great album. I have the concert on video already which I recorded off the tv when broadcast by the BBC. If only the full length show were available (Mike Batt has said he wants to record the full length show which has more songs and a tighter plot - one day) but this album/concert bundle is certainly worth having.
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on 5 February 2013
This is a masterpiece which many have never heard of.

It's hard to accept, when considering what must have taken years to complete, that it had so little exposure.

I was just lucky to see the original broadcast and to tape it onto my Sony C7 BetaMax.

I bought the cassette as soon as it was released and it has been played to death.

Now I am lucky to have searched at the right time and bought it via Amazon two weeks ago.
It is simply spectacular.

Following problem is that on my recommendation, and seeing You Tube clips, a friend and her brother both ordered it straight away.

Neither of their DVDs would play although the brother managed to play his on his PC, which is most strange!

This is a known problem, and I just hope they will sort it out, and re-issue, as it is very disappointing!
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on 11 February 2013
Watching Mike Batt's face as he conducts the LSO (who are all wearing stripey sailor style t-shirts!) you are left wondering if the man is a genius or a nut-case! However, it's obvious he is the former, even if the story and the words are utter nonsense! (Was Lewis Carroll a genius or a nut-case?!)
Sometimes a bit of nonsense is just what we need these days. The quality of the recording (on CD & DVD) is excellent considering this was recorded over 25 years ago. The sound is very good and does justice to the sound of the full orchestra which on this occasion was augmented with big band and rock musicians. Mike was clearly in his element as he conducts his way through the various songs. Seeing the joy on Billy Connolly's face and the obvious interplay between the other singers leaves you thinking that they must have had a lot of fun rehearsing and performing this piece. John Hurt's performance as the narrator (on the DVD) takes his part with a seriousness that shows just what a professional he really is!

I love these sort of shows that are pure fantasy and have a genuine 'feel good' factor. (My family think I am mad so I usually end up banished to my office to watch such things!)

I was not familiar with this work until my sister sent me a link to a Youtube excerpt. Having ordered the DVD/CD set I was soon disappointed that the DVD wouldn't play properly on my DVD player (freezing and pixelating), though it did play a little better on my PC, though not without some serious glitches. Although I purchased this item from Amazon I contacted the record company (Dramatico) direct and they kindly sent me a new DVD disc. Unfortunately this too has some serious errors but not until much later in the concert. I have lost the will now in terms of seeking a refund and the CD plays perfectly. I will try the DVD in my other DVD players around the house and hope I might find one that is a little more forgiving of my faulty discs. I've found previously that some discs will play perfectly well on some machines and not on others.

I hope that Dramatico can sort the quality issues on this disc. I have awarded my 5 stars purely for the composition/performance. Enjoy!
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on 27 February 2010
Of course Lewis Carroll's, Henry Holiday's and Joseph Swain's "The Hunting of the Snark" deserves five stars. But without the "Easter Greeting" one star goes. Lewis Carroll made quite some effort to insert that greeting into the already printed 1st edition of the book:



Please to fancy, if you can, that you are reading a real letter, from a real friend whom you have seen, and whose voice you can seem to yourself to hear wishing you, as I do now with all my heart, a happy Easter.

Do you know that delicious dreamy feeling when one first wakes on a summer morning, with the twitter of birds in the air, and the fresh breeze coming in at the open window--when, lying lazily with eyes half shut, one sees as in a dream green boughs waving, or waters rippling in a golden light? It is a pleasure very near to sadness, bringing tears to one's eyes like a beautiful picture or poem. And is not that a Mother's gentle hand that undraws your curtains, and a Mother's sweet voice that summons you to rise? To rise and forget, in the bright sunlight, the ugly dreams that frightened you so when all was dark--to rise and enjoy another happy day, first kneeling to thank that unseen Friend, who sends you the beautiful sun?

Are these strange words from a writer of such tales as "Alice"? And is this a strange letter to find in a book of nonsense? It may be so. Some perhaps may blame me for thus mixing together things grave and gay; others may smile and think it odd that any one should speak of solemn things at all, except in church and on a Sunday: but I think--nay, I am sure--that some children will read this gently and lovingly, and in the spirit in which I have written it.

For I do not believe God means us thus to divide life into two halves--to wear a grave face on Sunday, and to think it out-of-place to even so much as mention Him on a week-day. Do you think He cares to see only kneeling figures, and to hear only tones of prayer--and that He does not also love to see the lambs leaping in the sunlight, and to hear the merry voices of the children, as they roll among the hay? Surely their innocent laughter is as sweet in His ears as the grandest anthem that ever rolled up from the "dim religious light" of some solemn cathedral?

And if I have written anything to add to those stores of innocent and healthy amusement that are laid up in books for the children I love so well, it is surely something I may hope to look back upon without shame and sorrow (as how much of life must then be recalled!) when my turn comes to walk through the valley of shadows.

This Easter sun will rise on you, dear child, feeling your "life in every limb," and eager to rush out into the fresh morning air--and many an Easter-day will come and go, before it finds you feeble and gray-headed, creeping wearily out to bask once more in the sunlight--but it is good, even now, to think sometimes of that great morning when the "Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his wings."

Surely your gladness need not be the less for the thought that you will one day see a brighter dawn than this--when lovelier sights will meet your eyes than any waving trees or rippling waters--when angel-hands shall undraw your curtains, and sweeter tones than ever loving Mother breathed shall wake you to a new and glorious day--and when all the sadness, and the sin, that darkened life on this little earth, shall be forgotten like the dreams of a night that is past!

Your affectionate friend,


EASTER, 1876.
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on 29 June 2015
Nothing could beat Holiday's original illustrations. With them you get a sense that they give a true depiction of what Carroll imagined. Other imaginings, however, are always welcome.

I own The Snark in many other formats than the original, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, Quentin Blake, Mervyn Peake, Tove Jansson and this one by Mahendra Singh.

This is by no means a complete collection but it does give some basis for a comparison and I rate Singh's work most highly by far. All other illustrators mentioned (although they have their own charming styles) do not add anything by their pictures. They are all re-drawings of holiday's originals in a new style, or they are literal interpretations of the poem's narrative. They are nice to have for their own sake, most of them being very beautiful, but they do not lend anything to the story. Perhaps illustrators are weary of re-inventing such a classic as The Snark, but Singh is not, and he does it in style. This is absolutely beautiful and well thought out. It is perfect.

If you only own one copy of The Snark, own "The annotated Snark" annotations by Martin Gardner - the Penguin edition. If you only own Two copies of The Snark, own this one aswell!

If you want to own more than two, I would recommend the Quentin Blake one, or the 2011 reproduction of the first edition from the British Library.
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on 18 November 2010
My last review wasn't that favourable. It had nothing to do with the content of this CD/DVD re-issue. Snark is one of the great "lost" musicals and deserves to be heard by as many people as possible. The problem was that the DVD didn't play. After trying to get copies from various sources (none worked) I came to the conclusion that it was a manufacturing issue. I e-mailed DRAMATICO and they were good enough to send me a working copy free of charge. Jolly nice of them. The manufacturing issue has also, apparently, been solved.

So smiles all round then!

Buy Snark. It's a great show. And long for the day that the full score is released.
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on 10 December 2000
This weird and wonderful poem follows a journey only Lewis Carroll could have concocted. The elaborate drawings of Mervyn Peake serve to bring the whole strange event to life. It merits the five stars through the delicately depicted characters who appear on each page, loping and creeping from Peake's ink-pot. It is a creation from a unique collaboration never again to grace the printed page. Capture it before it disappears in to the mists of lost imaginations.
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I must admit that I can't ever remember reading this before, but after watching 'Lewis' last night I thought I would see if there was a free copy on this site. There is another copy also in the kindle popular classics store, but I could only find one review for the kindle version, all the others being cross posted from tree book versions. That review indicated that there were problems with the text, so I decided to download this version instead.

As far as I am aware all of it is here with no problems as such, but of course as I am not familiar with this particular poem, others may pick up on mistakes, etc. I know that there are all sorts of theories and ideas surrounding this poem, including even if it was written for children, but I think that Lewis Carroll himself would have said that if you see something it it, then good, if you don't, then that's just as good as well.

Whether there is some sort of puzzle or other hidden meaning in this, then let people believe it is so, personally I see here a very funny nonsense poem that had me laughing out loud. After all, what is this about?, but a very unusual crew looking for something that they don't really know what it looks like. Improbable, impossible, and highly unlikely, this is a great poem to read.
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on 4 February 2011
'They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened it's life with a railway-share,
They charmed it with smiles and soap.

And so the butcher, the baker, the bellman and otter went off on a voyage to hunt down a snark, this maybe a 'nonsense' poem, but certainly the writing is not nonsensical. Lewis shows us again why poetry is the highest form of literature.

Written in rhyming couplets, when read aloud, as all poetry should be, it takes you off on a merry dance and it is difficult not to get carried away with the story, in fact I can see no conceivable reason why you would not want to allow yourself to be carried along like a cork, bobbing in the ocean.

The scene set is that of a group is strange people indeed heading off to hunt the snark, a creature that is difficult to be found, and along the way some classic creatures such as the jabberwock and bandersnatch are encountered, very familiar to anyone that has read Lewis' other books, Alice in wonderland and through the looking glass.

This is a book I will read many times to my children and undoubtedly my childrens' children, as well no doubt my children will read this to their children and we will never tire of the adventures of the hunting of the snark.
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