Edgar Allan Poe is the undisputed master of the macabre and horror mystery genre. Poems such as The Bells, The Raven and Annabel Lee all have a suspenseful, terrifying cadence and vocabulary.
His longer works such as The Pit and the Pendulum or The Tell-Tale Heart share this quality. So Poe's works are a natural for listening to as well as reading.
Happily, a terrific collection of Poe classics Selected Shorts: Poe! (Selected Shorts: A Celebration of the Short Story)
is available on a 2 CD set from Symphony Space, a New York City performing arts center "that fosters artistically and culturally diverse performing arts, literary, and film programs that bring artists and audiences together in an atmosphere of exploration and intimacy. "
The set is titled Selected Shorts: Poe! (A Celebration of the Short Story) and consists of
- The Tell-Tale Heart performed by Terrance Mann
- The Raven performed by René Auberjonois, Fionnula Flanagan, Isaiah Sheffer and Harris Yulin
- The Masque of the Red Death performed by Fionnula Flanagan
- The Cask of Amontillado performed by David Margulies
- The Bells performed by René Auberjonois, Fionnula Flanagan, Isaiah Sheffer and Harris Yulin
- The Pit and the Pendulum performed by Stephen Lang
- Annabel Lee performed by René Auberjonois, Isaiah Sheffer and Harris Yulin
- The Black Cat performed by René Auberjonois
The stories are classics and the readings are creepy and full of suspense just as they should be. The performances are in front of a live audience but outside of the initial and ending applause, there is little intrusion from the audience into the reading.
I like that the works have different performers. It gives a nice break to the selections and keeps it interesting.
Some of the individual works have more than one reader. Even the short (1:57) poem Annabel Lee has 3 different performers and the different voices add to the reading. Wait till you hear what the 4 different voices bring to The Bells.
Poe! is perfect to put you in the mood for Halloween or to send a shiver up your spine any time of year.
Reviewed by Dan Hanson