LibriVox recording: The Speaking Voice

Posted February 16, 2012 by RuthieG
Categories: English fiction (solo recordings), Latest recordings, Non-fiction, Poetry

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Well, this was a challenge: take a book by an extremely successful dramatic reader in the early 1900s, and follow her training programme on the speaking voice and the vocal interpretation of various literary genres.

This is not a book designed for the professional reader’s training. It is meant for anyone who wants to get the best out of their voice in ordinary life. Watch out, though – if you are in the habit of wearing tight corsets, she has some severe words for you! 😆

The first two parts of the book deal with vocal production and techniques such as change of pitch, inflection and tone colour, then the eight chapters of the third part offer studies on various genres such as the essay, the short story, several types of poetry, ending with dramatic monologues and plays.

Actually, by the time I reached the last few chapters, she had more or less given up trying to teach me anything, because she said I was supposed to know it all by then, so those chapters comprise mostly complete poems for one’s own personal study.

I did find it interesting. I think I found it useful. I hope that others may also find it so. Never having been a devotee of the great English poets Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Tennyson – indeed, to be honest, never having been a great devotee of any poetry at all – I was surprised, and really rather pleased to be forced to study some of their poems. And even more pleased to find that I could appreciate them.

Here it is:

Section 11 includes a detailed study of Shelley’s Ode to a Skylark and, in the order they appear, the complete poems:
The Lesser Children, or A Threnody at the Hunting Season by Ridgley Torrence
Hunting Song by Sir Walter Scott
It was a Lover and his Lass by William Shakespeare
Pack, Clouds, Away and Welcome Day by Thomas Heywood
Memory and Enamoured Architect of Airy Rhyme by Thomas Bailey Aldrich
Love in the Winds by Richard Hovey
Candlemas by Alice Brown
She Was a Phantom of Delight by William Wordsworth
Nonsense Lyrics Topsy-turvy World and I Saw a New World by William Brighty Rands
Hymn Before Sunrise, in the Vale of Chamouni by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Juan’s Song from The Spanish Gypsy by George Eliot
Pablo’s Song from The Spanish Gypsy by George Eliot
My Star by Robert Browning
Cavalier Tunes Marching Along by Robert Browning
Garden Fancies The Flower’s Name by Robert Browning.

Section 12 has a study of part of Rabbi Ben Ezra by Robert Browning, and the complete poems:
Each and All by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Forbearance by Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Section 13 comprises mostly just the complete short story The Revolt of ‘Mother’ by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman.

Section 14 has a study of a cutting of Gareth and Lynette from Tennyson’s Idylls of the King.

Section 15 has the complete poems:

A Tale (epilogue to Two Poets of Croisic) by Robert Browning
Incident of the French Camp
My Last Duchess

LibriVox and Charles Dickens

Posted February 8, 2012 by RuthieG
Categories: English fiction (contributions), Uncategorized

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I may be a day late as Dickens’s birthday was yesterday, but we at LibriVox will be working away throughout the 200th anniversary year to bring you as many of Dickens’s lesser-known works as possible.

Already, there are LibriVox recordings of all his great novels – many have a choice of recordings. Now, we are working our way through his other works, including short stories, magazine articles, letters, speeches and poetry.

Volume 1 of our Charles Dickens 200th Anniversary Collection was released yesterday on the great man’s birthday, and we have several more volumes in progress.

This volume has short stories, articles, speeches and poetry. If you have never managed to get to grips with one of his vast novels, do try listening to some of his shorter stories, or one of his rants about the many things that he disagreed with. He is remarkably funny at times.

You may also be interested in the short Dickens-flavoured podcast that I hosted this week. Lucy Perry, Martin Geeson and Andy Minter tell us why they have come to like Dickens, and there are short excerpts of some recordings too, to give you an idea of what there is to enjoy.

Legamus recording: The Prophet

Posted January 17, 2012 by RuthieG
Categories: Legamus, Uncategorized

Tags: ,

My first Legamus recording has now been published!

The Prophet by Khalil Gibran (1883 – 1931)

The Prophet is the best known work of Khalil Gibran, also known as Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese American poet and artist.

The poetic prose of The Prophet has delighted readers for generations, and the book became particularly popular in the 1960s. Al-Mustafa the prophet, who has lived abroad for many years, is about to board a ship home when he is stopped by a group of people with whom he discusses many aspects of life and the human condition, including love, children, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge and death.

The text of this recording is in the public domain in Europe and all countries which observe copyright protection for 70 years or less after the author’s death. As the text was published in 1923, it remains under copyright in the USA until 2019. Please verify the copyright status of this text in your own country before downloading, otherwise you may be violating copyright laws.

For once, unlike all LibriVox recordings, I have decided to release this under a non-commercial licence. This recording is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). I just didn’t want people selling it when it is available completely free. It’s sometimes hard when you just want to give something away, and you know there are people out there waiting to make a quick buck (rant over ;)).


Legamus! (Latin: let’s read together!) makes free audio books from texts that are in the Public Domain in Europe. In this context, Public Domain means that copyright has expired on the original text. In Europe and many other parts of the world, copyright protection expires 70 years after the author’s death.

Legamus readers are all volunteers, and you can volunteer too! All you need is a computer, an internet connection, a microphone and some free software. You can find more information in our forums.

Legamus only records texts that were published in or after 1923. These texts are still protected by copyright in the USA. Texts published before this date are in the Public Domain in the USA and are recorded by You can download them from the LibriVox catalogue. Please note that all LibriVox recordings are in the Public Domain in the USA, but may still be protected by copyright in other countries. All my LibriVox recordings are in the Public Domain in Europe and anywhere else where copyright protection lasts for 70 years or less after the author’s death.


Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA)

It may be distributed and adapted freely for non-commercial purposes in countries where the original text is in the public domain, as long as Legamus is credited and any new creation is licensed under the same terms.

New LibriVox recording: The Cricket on the Hearth

Posted December 31, 2011 by RuthieG
Categories: English fiction (solo recordings), Latest recordings, Uncategorized

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Well, I didn’t quite make it by Christmas, but I have managed to get it finished before the old year dies.

Last year, I recorded Dickens’ second short Christmas book, The Chimes, and this year I have recorded his third, The Cricket on the Hearth.

This little book sat on the family bookshelf when I was a child, and it always looked a very strange title to me.

It is a very sentimental story, but not without flashes of Dickensian humour, and is the tale of John Peerybingle, the good-hearted carrier, and his young wife Mary (‘Dot’), interwoven with the story of poor toymaker Caleb Plummer, his beloved blind daughter Bertha, and the harsh old toy merchant Tackleton, who is due to marry May Fielding, a childhood friend of Dot. Comic relief is provided by Tilly Slowboy, the disaster-prone nursemaid of John and Dot’s baby, and Boxer, the family dog.

The cricket who chirps on the family hearth assumes fairy form to save the day when disaster looms in the form of a mysterious stranger.

The novella is subdivided into chapters called ‘Chirps’, similar to the ‘Quarters’ of The Chimes or the ‘Staves’ of A Christmas Carol.

I wish all my listeners a very happy and peaceful New Year.

LibriVox Christmas Collections

Posted December 20, 2011 by RuthieG
Categories: English fiction (contributions), Latest recordings, Poetry, Sung recordings

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2011 Christmas Short Works Collection
2011 Christmas Carol Collection

The festive season looms again, and once more we invite you to sample the fare of our Christmas collections at LibriVox. As usual, they are a mixture of the traditional and the unfamiliar. Every year we discover absolute gems from the dusty basements of the Internet Archive.

This time, I found a delightful poem called Santa Claus in a 1907 book imaginatively titled Christmas.

Or, how about a real tear-jerker of a short story by Bret Harte: Santa Claus at Simpson’s Bar, wonderfully read by Don Jenkins?

And how can you possibly resist David Wales reading Julius Adolphus Jenkins’s Christmas Alligator?

These and many more are included in the 2011 Christmas Short Works Collection. It’s a feast – don’t miss it!

The 2011 Christmas Carol Collection is equally varied: fancy a rock version of We Three Kings? We have it. 8th century Latin words set to music by Gustav Holst? We have that too. An old version of Twelve Days of Christmas sung by LOTS of LibriVoxateers… my own contributions of some wonderful folk carols rescued from oblivion by Cecil Sharp in the early 1900s… a very professional performance of Gesù Bambino by Susan K. Hawthorne… and much more.

Much fun had by all. 🙂 Happy Christmas, everybody!

At last! New free LibriVox recording: The Riddle Ring

Posted December 16, 2011 by RuthieG
Categories: English fiction (solo recordings), Latest recordings, Uncategorized

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Much delayed owing to horrible computer problems, today sees the release of my latest LibriVox recording: not, I am sure, one you will have heard of before, and perhaps a rather unusual choice for me, but well-written and with some intriguing characters.

The Riddle Ring, by Justin McCarthy, is a romantic mystery – or mysterious romance – and tells the tale of jilted lover, Jim Conrad, who discovers an unusual gold ring while on a visit to Paris. What is the story of the ring? Why is Clelia Vine so sad? Who is the nameless ‘chief’? And how is a dour English barber in a Parisian salon mixed up in all this?

Justin McCarthy was an Irish nationalist, Liberal historian, novelist and politician.

This is in the public domain everywhere in the world. I hope you enjoy it.

Also in progress: another of Dicken’s Christmas stories. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to record for over a month, and it will be a miracle if this is finished before Christmas.

After that, I will be completing Volume 2 of Henry Lucy’s East by West, and returning to my old favourite Cleek for more adventures with Dollops and Inspector Narkom of the Yard. Lots of fun to come.

Poems for Remembrance

Posted November 13, 2011 by RuthieG
Categories: Latest recordings, Poetry, Uncategorized, War Poets

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At this time of year, I like to co-ordinate a weekly poetry project of a poem specially chosen on the theme of remembrance of the fallen. This year, I have co-ordinated two, The Trenches and To a Dog.

For those of you not familiar with the weekly and fortnightly LibriVox poetry projects, one poem is chosen and recorded by as many LibriVoxers as possible. It is surprising how different the interpretations can be.

The Trenches by Frederic Manning (1882 – 1935)

Manning was an Australian poet living in England at the outbreak of the First World War. He enlisted in the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry, and was in action at the Battle of the Somme. This poem paints a vivid picture of the horror of night in the trenches.

All the recordings may be found at

Or download my own version directly from

To a Dog by John Jay Chapman (1862-1933)

Chapman’s son Victor was the first American pilot to lose his life in aerial combat, while serving with the Escadrille Américaine in the First World War. This poem tells of the heartbreak of a bereaved father; the sentiment, though attributed to the son’s dog, is familiar to all who have lost someone they loved, in peace or war.

All the recordings may be found at

Or download my own version directly from

New free LibriVox recording: The Feast of St. Friend

Posted November 10, 2011 by RuthieG
Categories: Latest recordings, Non-fiction, Uncategorized

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Just released: The Feast of St. Friend, a Christmas Book by the inimitable Arnold Bennett.

It is hard to believe it was published 100 years ago.

Something has happened to Christmas, or to our hearts ; or to both. In order to be convinced of this it is only necessary to compare the present with the past.

Bennett himself came from a strongly Methodist family, but this is not a religious book. This is about the significance of the festival of Christmas for everyone, Christian or not.

Thought-provoking, wry and amusing as always, Arnold Bennett offers no easy solutions but has certainly given me something to think about. I hope you find the same.

Also in progress: another of Dicken’s Christmas stories and a mysterious romance. These will be available soon.

After that, I will be completing Volume 2 of Henry Lucy’s East by West, and returning to my old favourite Cleek for more adventures with Dollops and Inspector Narkom of the Yard. Lots of fun to come.

Copyright… and an exciting new European venture

Posted October 19, 2011 by RuthieG
Categories: Uncategorized

Let me start by saying sorry to listeners in the USA – this will not benefit you.

International copyright law is a mysterious beast. Most countries have laws that give copyright protection to authors for a certain number of years after their death. The USA is different. In fact, their copyright law is unbelievably complicated. Read about the Copyright Term Extension Act if you can bear to. LibriVox audio recordings are all hosted in the USA, so LibriVox needs to observe US copyright law scrupulously.

We non-US readers also have to consider the copyright laws of our own countries, so we are frequently unable to record works by, say, British authors which are in the public domain in the US, but not at home (e.g. early works by P.G. Wodehouse). This is frustrating. Very frustrating. But it’s the law, and we are a law-abiding bunch.

However, of course there are works that are in the Public Domain in Europe, but not in the USA – because the author died more than 70 years ago, but the books were published in or after the US cut-off point of 1923. Examples include The Prophet by Khalil Gibran and Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence.

Several individuals have been thinking about this for a long time, but the critical factor which has always stopped us, has been where in Europe to get the files hosted. The storage and bandwidth costs for audio files are substantial and of course we have no money :D.

There seems to be no European equivalent of the US Internet Archive, which, of course, generously hosts all LibriVox audio recordings free. Leastways, there are European archive sites, funded presumably by the EU, but they do not (yet!) seem interested in assisting. If anyone has any ideas or contacts, do please let me know.

In the meantime, we have decided to go ahead, finding free hosting where and when we can. Not ideal, but it is a start. It will be of interest to European listeners, whose laws specify 70 years of copyright protection following an author’s death, and also Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Japan, China (50 years), Australia (50/70 years), India (60 years), Brazil, Israel (70 years) and many other parts of the world. Check your country’s copyright duration here. This means, for instance, that we shall be able to record later works of Conan Doyle, D. H. Lawrence, John Buchan and next year, Virginia Wolfe and James Joyce… and many European authors, increasing every year.

So (drum roll) I am pleased to announce that I shall also be recording for Legamus (let’s read aloud in Latin!). We are not up and running yet, but we will be soon. I will, of course, announce it here. And, you guessed it, those two I mentioned earlier will be among the first I record. 😉

These will be free downloads, but unlike LibriVox they may not necessarily be available for other people to sell.

New Iambik audiobook: Trencarrow Secret

Posted October 7, 2011 by RuthieG
Categories: Commercial recordings, English fiction (solo recordings), Uncategorized

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My latest recording for Iambik Audiobooks, Trencarrow Secret by Anita Davison, is released today.

It is available in MP3 or M4B format directly from Iambik Audiobooks, nearly twelve and a half hours for just $6.99 at:

or you may even be able to win it free if you enter the Iambik First Birthday competition!

Set in 1882, this is the story of the Hart family who spend summer as usual at their country house on the Cornish coast. But this year, things are different. The sheltered and sensitive Isabel is approaching her 21st birthday, and there is talk of an engagement to Jared, the son of old family friends, whom Isabel has known since childhood. Isabel’s mother Marie is seriously ill. And Isabel sees something that turns her world upside down.

The events of this sweltering summer, leading up to Isabel’s birthday ball, form the framework of the story. It is more than a simple historical romance. The Harts must keep up appearances before their house guests and friends despite the tensions that arise within the family, and there are family secrets that Isabel has never been told. Can Isabel come to terms with her deep-seated fears and face reality?

The characters are well-drawn and I had no difficulty in visualising them as I recorded the book. I particularly enjoyed recording the indomitable Aunt Margot, Isabel’s widowed aunt, and Isabel’s brother-in-law Walter who does, oh does so enjoy his food. All in all, a book that I think you will enjoy.

No violence, sex or swearing – makes a pleasant change! 🙂

“With rich prose and compelling characters, Anita Davison weaves a magnificent Victorian era love story filled with dark family secrets and intrigues. Each chapter is more tempting than the one before it. Fans of eloquent and meaningful romantic historical fiction will want to savour every word. Not only are the historical details well presented, but the love story that unfolds is exhilarating and stunning. A deep, enriching lesson on the nature of life and love.” — Mirella Patzer – Historical Novel Review Blog

Read more about the book and some of the characters on the Trencarrow Secret website and more about the author on her blog, The Disorganised Author.

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