Poetry Of Robert Browning - Robert Browning
James Mason died in 1984 -- this was obviously recorded before that, and the sound quality suggests that it was recorded in mono rather than stereo. Among the sound problems are some odd noises that occur during some pauses, that sound like they must be artefacts of the recording process, or a later transfer. That said, Mason reads these poems extremely well. They are written as dramatic monologues-- Browning wrote three poems from the points of view of personalities of the Renaissance. Two of these are the artists Andrea del Sarto and Fra Lippo Lippi -- artists of great skill, but lacking the genius of a Michaelangelo or Rafael. Their monologues are vividly imagined windows into the Italian Renaissance. The third poem is a monologue by a fictional Spanish bishop of around the same time period. They are in blank verse (i.e., non-rhyming), which adds to the dramatic realism of the works. Mason was a great actor and perfoms these beautifully. While I would prefer a better-quality recording, the performance overcomes this one weakness. And, since the poems speak of voices from a long-ago time, the old-sounding quality of the recording is in some sense fitting.