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Britten: Works for Orchestra / Gardner/BBC PO

> Symphonic Suite, Op. 53a, "Gloriana" - I. The Tournament
> Symphonic Suite, Op. 53a, "Gloriana" - II. The Lute Song
> Symphonic Suite, Op. 53a, "Gloriana" - III. Courtly Dances
> Symphonic Suite, Op. 53a, "Gloriana" - IV. Gloriana Moritura
> Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 68 - I. Allegro maestoso
> Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 68 - II. Presto inquieto
> Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 68 - III. Adagio -
> Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 68 - IV. Passacaglia: Andante allegro
> Peter Grimes: 4 Sea Interludes, Op. 33a - No. 1. Dawn
> Peter Grimes: 4 Sea Interludes, Op. 33a - No. 2. Sunday Morning
> Peter Grimes: 4 Sea Interludes, Op. 33a - No. 3. Moonlight
> Peter Grimes: 4 Sea Interludes, Op. 33a - No. 4. Storm

Album Summary

>Britten, Benjamin : Gloriana, symphonic suite for tenor (or oboe) & orchestra, Op. 53a
>Britten, Benjamin : Simple Symphony for Strings, Op. 4
>Britten, Benjamin : Peter Grimes
Performers Conductor Ensemble
  • >
Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"This is a very good Britten disc indeed, with an interesting programme that is played with energetic commitment, scrupulous attention to detail and an obvious sympathy for the music...Gardner really seems to relish Britten's orchestral writing, and the BBC Philharmonic is on superb form throughout." -International Record Review

"Three elements stand out: firstly, the dramatic intensity of purpose he finds in all pieces; secondly, the sizzling soloistic detail he draws from the BBC Philharmonic and, thirdly, the depth and scope of the recorded sound...Watkins is an interpreter of compelling seriousness, whose musical understanding operates at a profound level...a truly symphonic collaboration." -BBC Music Magazine

Conductor Edward Gardner and cellist Paul Watkins join forces with the BBC Philharmonic to honor Benjamin Britten. Written for Mstislav Rostropovich, the Symphony for Cello and Orchestra was Britten's only substantial piece of absolute symphonic music. As the title suggests, the soloist and the orchestra are treated on equal terms, sharing all the important melodic material. Britten extracted the Four Sea Interludes for concert performance from the score of his large-scale opera Peter Grimes. The North Sea, both benign and savage, plays a central role in the drama and its contrasting facets are celebrated in the interludes. The Symphonic Suite derives from the opera Gloriana, which received such an infamously negative reception that the work was rarely performed again in the composer's lifetime.

"Britten’s Gloriana, on the life of Elizabeth I, has never established itself in the opera house, but it’s full of wonderful music. Gardner and the BBC Philharmonic bring out the melancholy undertow and the textural subtlety lurking under the music’s ceremonial surface. The performance of the Cello Symphony with Paul Watkins is similarly sensitive." -The Telegraph

"[Gardner's] atmospheric, emotional and musically detailed accounts of the four Sea Interludes from that great opera are a fine souvenir of his theatre performances...The BBC Phil responds excitingly and with rhythmic verve to the rarely recorded suite from Britten's Coronation opera, Gloriana...the cod-Tudor Courtly Dances are a treat." -Sunday Times ***

"Gloriana, on the life of Elizabeth I, has never established itself in the opera house, but it's full of wonderful music. Gardner and the BBC Philharmonic bring out the melancholy undertow and the textural subtlety lurking under the music's ceremonial surface. The performance of the Cello Symphony with Paul Watkins is similarly sensitive." -The Telegraph ****

"These are outstanding performances, as good or better than the composer's own. Edward Gardner tears into the Four Sea Interludes with uninhibited excitement. It's great to hear the high violins and flutes in "Dawn" swooping and soaring like the gulls that they're supposed to be evoking. "Sunday Morning" has an infectious bounce, while "Moonlight" casts a rapt stillness abruptly shattered by perhaps the most vicious storm on disc. It's one of those versions you will listen to and say, "Finally, that's the way it should go!"... Paul Watkins and Gardner somehow make music out of the low, grotty opening, pacing the movement as unerringly as did Britten himself. The finale works its way up to a generously life-affirming conclusion, and Watkins does a wonderful job with the lengthy preceding cadenza. In short, this release is a major entry in the Britten discography, and the sonics are every bit the equal of the interpretations." -ClassicsToday (10/10)

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester (07/14/2010/07/15/2010).



Reviews

Britten is one of the Best 20th Century Composers
This collection of Brittenís Orchestral Works is fantastic! The Symphonic Suite for Gloriana is a beautiful orchestra suite with some sung arias from the opera. The BBC philharmonic is the perfect ensemble to interpret these pieces, as it is quite melodic and quintessentially British. The Cello concerto is a bit more modern and strident, but again has the attractive rhythmic characteristics of Britten that make it delightful to listen to. The final piece is the famous Four Sea Interludes. It is truly one of the greatest 20th century pieces ever written. The interludes do remind one of the sea, but I donít consider them to be only programmatic, as their fascinating rhythms and dance-like melodies are a joy to listen to.
Submitted on 03/21/11 by Dynamic_Andy 
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Works Details

>Britten, Benjamin : Gloriana, symphonic suite for tenor (or oboe) & orchestra, Op. 53a
  • Performer: Robert Murray (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Edward Gardner
  • Notes: Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester (07/14/2010/07/15/2010)
  • Running Time: 25 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1954

>Britten, Benjamin : Simple Symphony for Strings, Op. 4
  • Performer: Paul Watkins (Cello)
  • Conductor: Edward Gardner
  • Notes: Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester (07/14/2010/07/15/2010)
  • Running Time: 34 min. 2 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Orchestral
  • Written: 1963

>Britten, Benjamin : Peter Grimes
  • Conductor: Edward Gardner
  • Notes: Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester (07/14/2010/07/15/2010)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1944