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Britten Rarities

Notes & Reviews:

BBC Music Magazine, October 2012
Britten's underrated United Nations anthem Voices for Today makes it onto disc at last, together with vintage recordings of artists the composer chose to work with.

Gramophone Magazine (Friday Afternoons)
John Hahessy has a splendid strong tone, almost brassy in forte, and a blessedly unaffected style: none of those cautious hoots and beautifully modulated vowels that are the bane of the English choirboy tradition. What is more he evidently has a real natural musicality, to judge by his moulding of phrases throughout this disc.

Gramophone Magazine (The Sword in the Stone)
Admirably read by the author, with a delightful mixture of sardonic humour and delicate description. The atmosphere is heightened by the music of Benjamin Britten, which brilliantly sharpens the word-pictures. [... ] It is all charming and will give great pleasure to young and old, for its story and the way it is told and for Britten's delicate score.

Gramophone Magazine (A Charm of Lullabies, Purcell)
Britten's songs were written in 1947 for Nancy Evans, and it might be thought that they need rather more mezzo than contralto tone. But Miss Bowden sings them with no apparent strain, and her characterisation of each one is [very] successful ... Her voice is not yet as opulent as Kathleen Ferrier's, but her dramatic sense is possibly more developed.

Sunday Times, 22nd July 2012
In advance of Britten's centenary, a deep draught of the strong wine of his sensibility. The items are mostly first releases on CD, from the margins of his recorded oeuvre...The boy alto John Hahessy is sumptuous in songs from Friday Afternoons.


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