Britten Conducts Britten [7 CDs]

Britten Conducts Britten [7 CDs]

by Benjamin Britten

CD

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Overview

Britten Conducts Britten [7 CDs]

This disc is essentially self-recommending: anyone -- and that means anyone -- with an interest in the orchestral music and song cycles of the great twentieth century English composer Benjamin Britten will have to hear it. Why? Because it contains all the recordings Britten made of these works for Decca between 1954 and his death in 1976, and thereby forms the entire basis of an authentic and authoritative Britten performance practice. A fine conductor of other composers' music -- his Mozart, his Schumann, and especially his Mahler were full of insight and understanding -- Britten was a great conductor of his own music, combining in his performances the inspiration of creation with the act of re-creation. His awesome "Sinfonia da Requiem" with the New Philharmonia and his soulful "Cello Symphony" with Mstislav Rostropovich from 1964 are here, along with his sarcastic "Piano Concerto" with Sviatoslav Richter and his searing "Violin Concerto" with Mark Lubotsky from 1970. His whole three-act "Prince of the Pagodas" ballet played by the Royal Opera House Orchestra Covent Garden, from 1957 is here along with his sweet "Simple Symphony" from 1968 and his witty "Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge" from 1966, both played by the English Chamber Orchestra. All the big song cycles are here -- "Winter Words," the "Michelangelo Sonnets," and the "Donne Sonnets" sung by tenor Peter Pears and the "Blake Songs" and "Proverbs" sung by baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau -- but best of all is the final disc coupling all three of the big orchestral song cycles -- the "Serenade," "Les illuminations," and the "Nocturne" all sung by the man for whom they were composed: Peter Pears. If you have any interest in Britten's music and you haven't already heard these recordings, you owe it to yourself to hear them. Decca's sound in the early '50s was a bit boomy in the bottom, but everything from the late '50s up is clear, deep, and rich.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/13/2007
Label: Decca
UPC: 0028947560517
catalogNumber: 000827202
Rank: 156564

Tracks

  1. Piano Concerto in D major, Op. 13
  2. Violin Concerto in D minor, Op. 15
  3. Cello Symphony, for cello & orchestra, Op. 68
  4. Sinfonia da Requiem, for orchestra, Op. 20
  5. Cantata misericordium, for tenor, baritone, chorus, string quartet, strings, piano, harp & tympani, Op. 69
  6. Prelude & Fugue, for 18 strings, Op. 29
  7. Simple Symphony, for string orchestra, Op. 4
  8. Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge, for strings, Op. 10
  9. Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell), for speaker ad lib & orchestra, Op. 34
  10. The Prince of the Pagodas, ballet, Op. 57
  11. Diversions, for piano, left hand & orchestra, Op. 21
  12. Sonnets (7) of Michelangelo, for voice & piano, Op. 22
  13. The Holy Sonnets (9) of John Donne, for voice & piano, Op. 35
  14. Songs and Proverbs of W. Blake, song cycle for baritone & piano, Op. 74
  15. Winter Words, song cycle for tenor & piano, Op. 52
  16. Tit for Tat, song cycle for voice & piano
  17. Serenade, for tenor, horn & strings, Op. 31
  18. Les illuminations, song cycle for high voice & strings, Op. 18
  19. Nocturne, for tenor, 7 instruments & strings, Op. 60

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