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A CD RETELLING IN MUSIC OF THE STORY OF SHACKLETON
FRANK BOSSERT COMPOSES NEW WORK RETELLING THE SAGA OF ENDURANCE
The spellbinding saga of Sir Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance voyage is now available in words and music on an imaginitive rock and folk-inspired CD album by Frank Bossert, a gifted musician from Hamburg who has put together a fascinating and moving interpretation of the famous story.
Frank has brought together many influences here, melding them into a striking collage of styles to produce a work that has a remarkable consistency and evokes endless interest. Progressive rock unites with a symphonic influence and also an underlying resonance of Celtic music, to create an atmospheric whole which poignantly captures the emotions of the crew, from optimism through despair and on to relief.
The CD, entitled Shackleton's Voyage, combines spoken narrative with instrumental passages and several haunting songs which together narrate the whole sequence of events from Endurance's setting out in late 1914 to the desperate times on Elephant Island and the men’s final rescue.
The CD features luxurious and attractive artwork. The extensive, 20-page booklet contains numerous original photographs by Frank Hurley, the Endurance expedition's photographer. The recording is now available worldwide as well as from Eureka’s own website.
Four of the tracks: 'Going Home', 'Heading South', 'Turning Point' and 'In Search of Relief' can be listened to on the Eureka section on MySpace. Thy give a good flavour of the album as a whole.
The titles of the 16 tracks are:
'The Last Adventure'
'Departure' (featuring Troy Donockley)
'The Challenge' (Billy Sherwood)
'Grytviken Whaling Station'
'Heading South' (Yogi Lang)
'Plenty of Time' (described as 'a Celtic romp on the
Uilleann pipes', here played by Stefan Markus)
'The Turning Point'
'Going Home' (Billy Sherwood)
'Into the Lifeboats'
'Will You Ever Return?' (Kalema)
'In Search of Relief'
'The Rescue' and
'We Had Seen God!'
Frank has talked in interviews about the 'concept album' which came to him as an idea after he’d watched a documentary on Shackleton in 2000. He told Jill Hughes of Progressive Music: 'I think Shackleton's story is relevant to all of us and in so many ways! It's about humanity, about responsibility, about having a vision, about taking risks and last but not least about failing.
'When the Endurance was crushed by the packed ice, Shackleton immediately changed his goal - the new goal was to bring all of his men home alive! It was also my goal to survive my experience [a broken relationship] and keep my lust for life. But besides the psychological aspects, it is all in all a giant adventure story.
'And that's the main thing I'm after in music: I feel in the tradition of bands like Yes in that aspect - they'd tried to be as adventurous as possible for their whole career! I did the music from scratch - following a storyboard I made for this record. It was a difficult thing sometimes. Bringing me to the point that I rather felt like giving up; yet sometimes things developed very easily - like always in life. All in all, it was great fun making this album.'
Actor Ian Dickson narrates parts of the story. Frank Bossert is joined on this recording by Yogi Lang (RPWL), who mixed and mastered the CD at Farmlands Studios in Munich, and also contributed a Moog solo; Billy Sherwood (Lodgic, World Trade, ex-Yes, Circa, Aka), who sings on two vocal tracks; Troy Donockley (Iona, Nightwish, etc.), who plays bagpipes and flute on one track; and Kalema, who supplies hauntingly beautiful vocals on one track, 'Will You Ever Return?' Some listeners might notice attractive reference points on this CD, including Mostly Autumn and A Momentary Lapse of Reason-era Pink Floyd.
As one critic reports, 'The Rescue' ushers in a feeling of exhausted disbelief, a variation on some of the previous melodic themes; and humbly ends the proceedings with the words of Sir Ernest Shackleton: "In memories we were rich. We had pierced the veneer of outside things. We had suffered, starved and triumphed, groveled down, yet grasped at glory, grown bigger in the bigness of the whole. We had seen God in His splendours, heard the text that nature renders. We had reached the naked soul of man".
Critical reaction has been very positive: 'Superbly atmospheric - just slipping this CD into the slot will likely give you frostbite' (Classic Rock Magazine). 'The music on Shackleton's Voyage is very strong….What a beautiful CD this has become. Bossert is like a new Mike Oldfield but with something extra' (iO Pages, Dutch Progressive Rock Magazine).
'In this day and age, it's easy to overlook the pioneering and adventurous spirit of people like Shackleton. Bringing it to life in a rock musical context and doing it so well is also a huge achievement. It might not be everyone's cup of tea but this is well worth checking out' (Powerplay Magazine). 'Shackleton's Voyage can seem a bit heavy going at time but I can assure you that it's worth taking a punt and seeing it through. It's one which gets better with repeat listenings' (roomthirteen.com).
Shackleton's Voyage has done exceptionally well since. It reached the top 100 in the German Amazon charts for a period! It was nominated in the category 'best recording' by the jury of 'Prog Awards 2009', which is composed by progressive sites and magazines, and achieved third place in the annual poll - a magnificent achievement for a project that brings Sir Ernest Shackleton's name and leadership qualities to an ever wider public.
MINNESOTA PUBLIC RADIO
A valuable 'Read and Listen' version of the story of the James Caird and Endurance can be found, with soundclips, prepared by John Rabe and made available by a collaboration between Minnesota Public Radio and American National Public Radio, on a valuable U.S.site :
CAROLINE ALEXANDER'S "THE ENDURANCE"
Caroline Alexander's pioneering book Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition, published to coincide with the New York and Washington exhibitions, and which has which has sold over 200,000 copies and done much to promote the name of Shackleton in the USA and worldwide, is now available in abridged Audiobooks/Talking Tapes form, narrated by Michael Tezla & Martin Ruben (abridged, four cassettes, 6 hours, published by Penguin Audiobooks (July 1999).
LANSING'S CLASSIC BOOK ON SHACKLETON AND ENDURANCE
Alfred Lansing' book, published under the title Endurance : Shackleton's Incredible Voyage, is now available on four cassettes, read by Tim Piggott-Smith, with Patrick Malahide.
'One of the most gripping, suspenseful, intense stories anyone will ever read' (Chicago Tribune).
'The publishers couldn't have found a better reader than Tim Pigott-Smith. His accent and low-key approach vibrate with subtle emotional strain as he takes us through the week-by-week, month-by-month ordeal, exuding an intensity that keeps the listener on the edge of the seat.'
The version, with the same readers, is also available in CD Format.
An alternative version from Blackstone Books is available in Talking Tape format, on 8 cassettes, read by Richard Brown.
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