By Stephanie Ciccarelli
January 26, 2009
Who doesn't know this timeless tale by Hans Christian Andersen?
Cher narrated this beautiful children's classic in 1987, part of a series of audio recordings for children on the Windham Hill label.
Learn more about Cher's interpretation of this classic story and the ethereal music that accompanies her velvety voice.
First published on November 11, 1843, Andersen's The Ugly Duckling weaves a melancholy tale of prejudice, rejection, and cruelty culminating in a singular moment of redemption and belonging as the ugly duckling discovers over time that he is not an unattractive duck after all but a handsome, princely swan.
Cher's rich contralto voice tells the tale of The Ugly Duckling with dignity and grace. Serving as narrator, and also providing voices of numerous characters, it was clear that each voice was developed and purposeful. I found the older voices she performed to be entertaining and most colorful. You could keenly feel the sorrow of the bewildered water foul. Cher did very well conveying his fellow creatures' bitterness as cold comfort in the midst of unfavorable circumstances.
Cher narrates over some exquisitely beautiful music performed by Celtic harp player and spoken word artist, Patrick Ball, including the following pieces:
1. Sheebeg Sheemore
3. The Munster Cloak
4. Ode to Whiskey
5. The Three Ravens
6. Mrs. Judge
7. Down by the Sea
8. Carolan's Ramble to Cashel
Although poignant, there are moments of hope amidst despair, particularly at the end when just as the ugly duckling has lost all will, he is adopted, praised and takes his rightful place, buoyed by a confidently triumphant narrator.
This recording is great for listening to with children during quiet time or just before bed, perhaps even on a car ride to lull littler ones to sleep.
Cher, born Cherilyn Sarkisian on May 20, 1946, is an American pop singer-songwriter, actor, director and record producer. She has won an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, three Golden Globe Awards and was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Looking forward to hearing what you think!
Shortly after listening to Cher's work, I happened to receive a CD from Danish voice talent Benjamin Kurzweil narrating his literal interpretation from the Danish manuscript of The Ugly Duckling and was able to gain more insight into Andersen's tale.
I found Benjamin Kurzweil's version of The Ugly Duckling very enchanting. Possibly this is because of his accent and also the depth of his voice and how Benjamin chose to colour the words. Another aspect that was evident to me was how well Benjamin had researched this story and how intimately familiar with it he was.
Benjamin Kurzweil's recording of The Ugly Duckling on "Mankind, Kind Man - and Other Short Stories" is available through Apple iTunes.
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