Angel Heart by Cornelia Funke, Narrated by Jeremy Irons

Angel Heart by Cornelia Funke
a music storybook
narrated by Jeremy Irons
music by Luna Pearl Woolf
Publisher: Mirada Studios
Genre: Middle Grade, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: n/a – audio
Age recommendation: Any
Rated: 5 stars
Reviewed by Rose

Drawing on the tradition of great music-and-story works like Peter and the Wolf, Angel Heart is a music storybook in deluxe CD packaging, featuring best-selling young-adult author Cornelia Funke (Inkheart), and composer Luna Pearl Woolf (Après moi, le déluge) with an A-list cast of performers such as Jeremy Irons, Matt Haimovitz& Uccello, Frederica von Stade and more, with artwork by the award-winning Mirada.

The story: A girl whose heart has broken into a thousand pieces meets an angel. During their travels in the night, the angel enlists the help of spirits of the East, North, West, and South on his quest to mend her heart.

In addition to Angel Heart, (story by Cornelia Funke, music by Luna Pearl Woolf, narrated by Jeremy Irons); the work combines well known songs from The Beatles, classical music and folk music. The visual storytelling design is by Mirada, a multi-platform company that was founded by Mathew Cullen and Pan s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro.

This is a charming audio book suitable for all ages… but it’s even more. In alternating tracks, Jeremy Irons shares the story of an angel and a girl whose heart is broken into thousand pieces. Between each segment of the story is a track of beautiful music to go along with the storyline.

I love the way each track is clearly defined as it allows this gem to be played in multiple ways. You can just hear the story, just the music, or you can listen to the entire piece. I admit, the first time I listened to it, I skipped the musical interludes because I wanted to know what happened in the storyline. With subsequent listenings, however, I’ve let the CD play on through and have thoroughly enjoyed the blending of the two art forms.

The story is beautifully told (and equally beautifully read by the talented Jeremy Irons—he can read the telephone book to me any time!!). Ms. Funke’s other works are a lot of fun to read–this one is hauntingly evocative of tenderness and pain-healed. It’s a story I have listened to more than once (and as I’m not normally a re-reader, that’s saying something).

Kudos to everyone involved. 5 stars.  Thanks to the producers for trying something new!

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