Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Narration - The Timpanist of the Berlin Philharmonic - 1942, by Kim Stanley Robinson

At long last, I have another narration up on StarShipSofa No. 249. It is a very moving story by the imminent Science Fiction writer Kim Stanley Robinson. This isn't actually a Science Fiction story - at least not as far as I can tell. I'm not actually sure why Tony wanted this story for StarShipSofa, except that any story by KS Robinson would be a good draw for the podcast and I think that is the idea for this month of August with 2 new podcasts he's plugging.

Anyway back to the story. It is ostensibly about the political climate in Berlin in 1942 and what happened to and in the Berlin Philharmonic at the time. The Timpanist's very personal story is intertwined with descriptions of  his relationship to Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. The Symphony is a character in this story and all the "action" takes place during the course of the Berlin Philharmonic's performance of it on Hitler's birthday in 1942. There are some chilling moments as well as some very emotional moments. It is a rare story which gives a positive light to some "ordinary" and extraordinary people who did their best in a bleak time in which there seemed no hope. I almost wish it were in German so that all my German friends could listen to it. Germans as a people still struggle with how to come to terms with the events of WWII and they come down very hard on themselves as a general rule. For the most part this is the correct attitude, but there's always a flip side and this is one of them. It's powerful stuff. I used the actual recording of the symphony from that very night. Not much just about 60 seconds or so of it, but the timing is just perfect with the story...

Go listen to it: The Timpanist of the Berlin Philharmonic - 1942, by Kim Stanley Robinson Tony's intro and the segment about the cover art for the month of August isn't long, but if you'd rather skip straight to the story it begins at the 5'15" minute mark. It's about 45 minutes long.

I'd love to hear what you think about the story and/or my narration. You can post here or at StarShipSofa's Forum Episode Feedback page or FaceBook page.

In other news, I'm still working on The Rhysling Award Showcase edition of Poetry Planet. It'll probably come out in 2 weeks time because Tony appears to be on vacation. Either that or he's sleeping at the desk. :-)

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