Notes & Reviews:
All these superb Decca recordings of the music of Britten were made in 1953. All of the few Britten recordings made by Eugene Goossens have now been released on Decca Eloquence. Remodelled on themes he wrote as a boy, the Simple Symphony's undeniable charm and charisma have ensured it a constant place in repertoire enjoyed not only by children but by adults too. Much the same goes for The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, and this Van Beinum recording, one of the work's earliest, was something of a demonstration CD for its day. It was coupled with the Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes as well as the Passacaglia, and the latter, much requested, now receives its first issue on Decca CD. Britten recording the Sinfonia da Requiem twice, first in September 1953 with Danish forces and then more than ten years later in December 1964 with the New Philharmonia Orchestra. Andrew Porter, reviewing the earlier recording in the February 1955 issue of The Gramophone declared that it 'could hardly be bettered'. Some 55 years on, it makes its first appearance on CD. "... a really superb issue ... The orchestra play the music with great virtuosity, which never becomes mere display, and with an obvious enjoyment." - Gramophone (Van Beinum recordings).