Benjamin Britten: Vocal Works - Les Illuminations; Serenade; Nocturne, Folk Songs; Canticles; Sonnets [6 CDs]

Notes & Reviews:


Works:

Disc 1

01 I. Fanfare: Les Illuminations for high voice and string orchestra Op. 18 (1971 Digital Remaster) - Heather Harper/Northern Sinfonia Orchestra/Sir Neville Marriner

02 II. Villes: Les Illuminations for high voice and string orchestra Op. 18 (1971 Digital Remaster) - Heather Harper/Northern Sinfonia Orchestra/Sir Neville Marriner

03 IIIa. Phrase: Les Illuminations for high voice and string orchestra Op. 18 (1971 Digital Remaster) - Heather Harper/Northern Sinfonia Orchestra/Sir Neville Marriner

04 IIIb. Antique: Les Illuminations for high voice and string orchestra Op. 18 (1971 Digital Remaster) - Heather Harper/Northern Sinfonia Orchestra/Sir Neville Marriner

05 IV. Royauté: Les Illuminations for high voice and string orchestra Op. 18 (1971 Digital Remaster) - Heather Harper/Northern Sinfonia Orchestra/Sir Neville Marriner

06 V. Marine: Les Illuminations for high voice and string orchestra Op. 18 (1971 Digital Remaster) - Heather Harper/Northern Sinfonia Orchestra/Sir Neville Marriner

07 VI. Interlude: Les Illuminations for high voice and string orchestra Op. 18 (1971 Digital Remaster) - Heather Harper/Northern Sinfonia Orchestra/Sir Neville Marriner

08 VII. Being Beauteous: Les Illuminations for high voice and string orchestra Op. 18 (1971 Digital Remaster) - Heather Harper/Northern Sinfonia Orchestra/Sir Neville Marriner

09 VIII. Parade: Les Illuminations for high voice and string orchestra Op. 18 (1971 Digital Remaster) - Heather Harper/Northern Sinfonia Orchestra/Sir Neville Marriner

10 IX. Départ: Les Illuminations for high voice and string orchestra Op. 18 (1971 Digital Remaster) - Heather Harper/Northern Sinfonia Orchestra/Sir Neville Marriner

11 Prologue (horn solo): Serenade for tenor, horn and strings Op. 31 - Neil Mackie/Barry Tuckwell/Steuart Bedford/John Tu

12 1. Pastoral: The day’s grown old (Charles Cotton): Serenade for tenor, horn and strings Op. 31 - Neil Mackie/Barry Tuckwell/Steuart Bedford/John Tu

13 2. Nocturne: The splendour falls on castle walls (Alfred, Lord Tennyson): Serenade for tenor, horn and strings Op. 31 - Neil Mackie/Barry Tuckwell/Steuart Bedford/John Tu

14 3. Elegy: O Rose, thou art sick (William Blake): Serenade for tenor, horn and strings Op. 31 - Neil Mackie/Barry Tuckwell/Steuart Bedford/John Tu

15 4. Dirge: This ae nighte (anon. 15th century): Serenade for tenor, horn and strings Op. 31 - Neil Mackie/Barry Tuckwell/Steuart Bedford/John Tu

16 5. Hymn: Queen and huntress (Ben Jonson): Serenade for tenor, horn and strings Op. 31 - Neil Mackie/Barry Tuckwell/Steuart Bedford/John Tu

17 6. Sonnet: O soft embalmer of the still midnight (John Keats): Serenade for tenor, horn and strings Op. 31 - Neil Mackie/Barry Tuckwell/Steuart Bedford/John Tu

18 Epilogue (horn solo): Serenade for tenor, horn and strings Op. 31 - Neil Mackie/Barry Tuckwell/Steuart Bedford/John Tu

19 Now sleeps the crimson petal - Neil Mackie/Barry Tuckwell/Scottish Chamber Orches

20 On a poet’s lips I slept (Shelley): Nocturne, Op.60 - Robert Tear/English Chamber Orchestra/Jeffrey Tate

21 Below the thunders of the upper deep (Tennyson) (Robin O’Neill, bassoon): Nocturne, Op.60 - Robert Tear/English Chamber Orchestra/Jeffrey Tate

22 Encinctured with a twine of leaves (Coleridge) (Thelma Owen, harp): Nocturne, Op.60 - Robert Tear/English Chamber Orchestra/Jeffrey Tate

23 Midnight’s bell goes ting, ting, ting, ting, ting (Middleton) (Frank Lloyd, french horn): Nocturne, Op.60 - Robert Tear/English Chamber Orchestra/Jeffrey Tate

24 But that night when on my bed I lay (Wordsworth) (David Corkhill, timpani): Nocturne, Op.60 - Robert Tear/English Chamber Orchestra/Jeffrey Tate

25 She sleeps on soft, last breaths (Owen) (James Brown, cor anglais): Nocturne, Op.60 - Robert Tear/English Chamber Orchestra/Jeffrey Tate

26 What is more gentle than a wind in summer? (Keats) (William Bennett, flute; Thea King, clarinet): Nocturne, Op.60 - Robert Tear/English Chamber Orchestra/Jeffrey Tate

27 When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see (Shakespeare): Nocturne, Op.60 - Robert Tear/English Chamber Orchestra/Jeffrey Tate

Disc 2

01 1. Nuits de juin (wds. Victor Hugo): Quatre Chansons françaises (1928) - Sir Simon Rattle/Jill Gomez

02 2. Sagesse (wds. Paul Verlaine): Quatre Chansons françaises (1928) - Sir Simon Rattle/Jill Gomez

03 3. L’Enfance (wds. Victor Hugo): Quatre Chansons françaises (1928) - Sir Simon Rattle/Jill Gomez

04 4. Chanson d’automne (wds. Paul Verlaine): Quatre Chansons françaises (1928) - Sir Simon Rattle/Jill Gomez

05 Prologue: Our Hunting Fathers Op. 8 - Elisabeth Söderström/Orchestra of Welsh National O

06 A. Rats Away!: Our Hunting Fathers Op. 8 - Elisabeth Söderström/Orchestra of Welsh National O

07 B. Messalina: Our Hunting Fathers Op. 8 - Elisabeth Söderström/Orchestra of Welsh National O

08 C. Dance of Death (Hawking for the Partridge): Our Hunting Fathers Op. 8 - Elisabeth Söderström/Orchestra of Welsh National O

09 Epilogue and Funeral March: Our Hunting Fathers Op. 8 - Elisabeth Söderström/Orchestra of Welsh National O

10 Little Sir William: Folk Song Arrangement - Elisabeth Söderström/Orchestra of Welsh National O

11 Come you not from Newcastle?: Folk Song Arrangement - Elisabeth Söderström/Orchestra of Welsh National O

12 The Bonny Earl o’ Moray: Folk Song Arrangement - Elisabeth Söderström/Orchestra of Welsh National O

13 Oliver Cromwell: Folk Song Arrangement - Elisabeth Söderström/Orchestra of Welsh National O

14 In May, in brilliant Athens: Phaedra, Op.93 - Felicity Palmer/Endymion Ensemble/John Whitfield

15 Oh Gods of wrath: Phaedra, Op.93 - Felicity Palmer/Endymion Ensemble/John Whitfield

16 My time’s too short, your highness: Phaedra, Op.93 - Felicity Palmer/Endymion Ensemble/John Whitfield

17 La belle est au jardin d’amour: Folk Song Arrangements - Felicity Palmer/Endymion Ensemble/John Whitfield

18 Eho! Eho!: Folk Song Arrangements - Felicity Palmer/Endymion Ensemble/John Whitfield

19 Fileuse: Folk Song Arrangements - Felicity Palmer/Endymion Ensemble/John Whitfield

20 Quand j’étais chez mon père.: Folk Song Arrangements - Felicity Palmer/Endymion Ensemble/John Whitfield

21 Le roi s’en va-t’en chasse (The King goes a-hunting): Folk Song Arrangements - Felicity Palmer/Endymion Ensemble/John Whitfield

Disc 3

01 1. Sì come nella penna e nell’inchiostro (XVI): Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo Op. 22 (1993 Digital Remaster) - Sir Peter Pears/Benjamin Britten

02 2. A che più debb’io mai l’intensa voglia (XXXI): Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo Op. 22 (1993 Digital Remaster) - Sir Peter Pears/Benjamin Britten

03 3. Veggio co’ bei vostri occhi un dolce lume (XXX): Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo Op. 22 (1993 Digital Remaster) - Sir Peter Pears/Benjamin Britten

04 4. Tu sa’ ch’io so, signior mie, che tu sai (LV): Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo Op. 22 (1993 Digital Remaster) - Sir Peter Pears/Benjamin Britten

05 5. Rendete a gli occhi miei, o fonte o fiume (XXXVIII): Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo Op. 22 (1993 Digital Remaster) - Sir Peter Pears/Benjamin Britten

06 6. S’un casto amor, s’una pietà superna (XXXII): Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo Op. 22 (1993 Digital Remaster) - Sir Peter Pears/Benjamin Britten

07 7. Spirto ben nato, in cui si specchia e vede (XXIV): Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo Op. 22 (1993 Digital Remaster) - Sir Peter Pears/Benjamin Britten

08 1. Oh my black Soule!: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne Op. 35 (1993 Digital Remaster) - Sir Peter Pears/Benjamin Britten

09 2. Batter my heart: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne Op. 35 (1993 Digital Remaster) - Sir Peter Pears/Benjamin Britten

10 3. Oh might those sighes and teares: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne Op. 35 (1993 Digital Remaster) - Sir Peter Pears/Benjamin Britten

11 4. Oh, to vex me: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne Op. 35 (1993 Digital Remaster) - Sir Peter Pears/Benjamin Britten

12 5. What if this present: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne Op. 35 (1993 Digital Remaster) - Sir Peter Pears/Benjamin Britten

13 6. Since she whom I loved: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne Op. 35 (1993 Digital Remaster) - Sir Peter Pears/Benjamin Britten

14 7. At the round earth’s imagined corners: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne Op. 35 (1993 Digital Remaster) - Sir Peter Pears/Benjamin Britten

15 8. Thou hast made me: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne Op. 35 (1993 Digital Remaster) - Sir Peter Pears/Benjamin Britten

16 9. Death, be not proud: The Holy Sonnets of John Donne Op. 35 (1993 Digital Remaster) - Sir Peter Pears/Benjamin Britten

17 1. Let the florid music praise!: On This Island Op. 11 (2000 Digital Remaster) - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

18 2. Now the leaves are falling fast: On This Island Op. 11 (2000 Digital Remaster) - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

19 3. Seascape: On This Island Op. 11 (2000 Digital Remaster) - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

20 4. Nocturne: On This Island Op. 11 (2000 Digital Remaster) - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

21 5. As it is, plenty: On This Island Op. 11 (2000 Digital Remaster) - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

22 1. At Day-close in November: Winter Words Op. 52 (2000 Digital Remaster) - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

23 2. Midnight on the Great Western (or The Journeying Boy): Winter Words Op. 52 (2000 Digital Remaster) - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

24 3. Wagtail and Baby (A Satire): Winter Words Op. 52 (2000 Digital Remaster) - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

25 4. The Little Old Table: Winter Words Op. 52 (2000 Digital Remaster) - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

26 5. The Choirmaster’s Burial (or The Tenor Man’s Story): Winter Words Op. 52 (2000 Digital Remaster) - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

27 6. Proud Songsters (Thrushes, Finches and Nightingales): Winter Words Op. 52 (2000 Digital Remaster) - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

28 7. At the Railway Station, Upway (or The Convict and Boy with the Violin): Winter Words Op. 52 (2000 Digital Remaster) - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

29 8. Before Life and After: Winter Words Op. 52 (2000 Digital Remaster) - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

Disc 4

01 My beloved is mine, Op.40: Canticle I - Ian Bostridge/Julius Drake

02 Abraham and Isaac, Op.51: Canticle II - David Daniels/Ian Bostridge/Julius Drake

03 Still falls the rain, Op.55: Canticle III - Ian Bostridge/Timothy Brown/Julius Drake

04 Journey of the Magi, Op.86: Canticle IV - David Daniels/Ian Bostridge/Christopher Maltman/Ju

05 The Death of Saint Narcissus, Op.89: Canticle V - Ian Bostridge/Aline Brewer

06 The plough boy: Folk Song Arrangements - Christopher Maltman/Julius Drake

07 The Salley Gardens: Folksong Arrangements - Christopher Maltman/Julius Drake

08 The foggy, foggy dew: Folk Song Arrangements - Christopher Maltman/Julius Drake

09 There’s none to soothe: Folk Song Arrangements - David Daniels/Julius Drake

10 O waly, waly: Folk Song Arrangements - David Daniels/Julius Drake

11 The ash grove: Folk Song Arrangements - Ian Bostridge/Julius Drake

12 Greensleves: Folk Song Arrangements - Ian Bostridge/Julius Drake

Disc 5

01 The Children and Sir Nameless: Two songs by Thomas Hardy - Neil Mackie/Roger Vignoles

02 If it’s ever spring again: Two songs by Thomas Hardy - Neil Mackie/Roger Vignoles

03 1. Beware! (Henry Longfellow, from the German): Beware! - Three Early Songs - Neil Mackie/Roger Vignoles

04 2. O that I had ne’er been married (Robert Burns): Beware! - Three Early Songs - Neil Mackie/Roger Vignoles

05 3. Epitaph: The Clerk (Herbert Asquith): Beware! - Three Early Songs - Neil Mackie/Roger Vignoles

06 Not even summer yet - Neil Mackie/Roger Vignoles

07 To lie flat on the back: Two songs by W. H. Auden - Neil Mackie/Roger Vignoles

08 Night covers up the rigid land: Two songs by W. H. Auden - Neil Mackie/Roger Vignoles

09 The Oxen (Christmas eve, and twelve of the clock) - Neil Mackie/Roger Vignoles

10 Dawtie’s Devotion: Three rhymes by William Soutar - Neil Mackie/Roger Vignoles

11 Tradition: Three rhymes by William Soutar - Neil Mackie/Roger Vignoles

12 The Gully: Three rhymes by William Soutar - Neil Mackie/Roger Vignoles

13 A Song of Enchantment: Tit for Tat - Jonathan Lemalu/Malcolm Martineau

14 Silver: Tit for Tat - Jonathan Lemalu/Malcolm Martineau

15 Tit for Tat: Tit for Tat - Jonathan Lemalu/Malcolm Martineau

16 Mother Comfort (wds. M. Slater): 2 Ballads - Dame Felicity Lott/Ann Murray/Graham Johnson

17 Underneath the abject willow (wds. W. H. Auden): 2 Ballads - Dame Felicity Lott/Ann Murray/Graham Johnson

18 Sweet Polly Oliver: Folk Song Arrangement - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

19 The Minstrel Boy (2000 Digital Remaster): Folk Song Arrangement - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

20 The Brisk Young Widow (2000 Digital Remaster): Folk Song Arrangement - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

21 Ca’ the Yowes (2000 Digital Remaster): Folk Song Arrangement - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

22 The Lincolnshire Poacher (2000 Digital Remaster): Folk Song Arrangement - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

23 O can ye sew cushions? (2000 Digital Remaster): Folk Song Arrangement - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

24 The trees they grow so high (2000 Digital Remaster): Folk Song Arrangement - Robert Tear/Sir Philip Ledger

25 Early one morning: Folk Song Arrangements - Sarah Brightman/Geoffrey Parsons

26 How sweet the answer: Folk Song Arrangements - Sarah Brightman/Geoffrey Parsons

27 Voici le printemps: Folk Song Arrangements - Sarah Brightman/Geoffrey Parsons

28 The last rose of summer: Folk Song Arrangements - Sarah Brightman/Geoffrey Parsons

29 Dear harp of my country: Folk Song Arrangements - Sarah Brightman/Geoffrey Parsons

30 Oft in the stilly night: Folk Song Arrangements - Sarah Brightman/Geoffrey Parsons

Disc 6

01 The Queen’s Epicedium - Benjamin Britten/Sir Peter Pears

02 Sound the Trumpet: Come ye sons of art away Z323 - Dame Felicity Lott/Ann Murray/Graham Johnson

03 I attempt from love’s sickness to fly (Dryden/Howard): The Indian Queen Z630 - Ann Murray/Graham Johnson

04 Lost is my quiet for ever Z502 - Dame Felicity Lott/Ann Murray/Graham Johnson

05 Fairest Isle (Dryden): King Arthur Z628 - Dame Felicity Lott/Graham Johnson

06 What can we poor females do Z518 - Graham Johnson

07 I’ll sail upon the Dog-star (Thomas D’Urfey) Z571.6: Three realizations of Henry Purcell - Neil Mackie/Roger Vignoles

08 The Knotting Song (Charles Sedley) Z371: Three realizations of Henry Purcell - Neil Mackie/Roger Vignoles

09 Man is for the woman made (Peter Anthony Motteux) Z605.3: Three realizations of Henry Purcell - Neil Mackie/Roger Vignoles

10 1. Let sullen discord smile (Nahum Tate) Z321.6: Suite of Songs from ‘Orpheus Britannicus’ - Neil Mackie/Steuart Bedford/John Tunnell

11 2. Why should men quarrel? (John Dryden & Sir Robert Howard) Z630.4d: Suite of Songs from ‘Orpheus Britannicus’ - Neil Mackie/Steuart Bedford/John Tunnell

12 3. So when the glittering Queen of Night (Thomas D’Urfey) Z333.11: Suite of Songs from ‘Orpheus Britannicus’ - Neil Mackie/Steuart Bedford/John Tunnell

13 4. Thou tun’st this world (Nicholas Brady) Z328.6: Suite of Songs from ‘Orpheus Britannicus’ - Neil Mackie/Steuart Bedford/John Tunnell

14 5a. ‘Tis holiday (Nahum Tate) Z321.5 - 5b. Sound Fame thy brazen trumpet (Thomas Betterton & John Dryden) Z627.22: - Steuart Bedford

15 Die Forelle D550 (orch. Britten) - Neil Mackie/Scottish Chamber Orchestra/Steuart Bed

16 Frühlingsnacht: Liederkreis Op. 39 (orch. Britten) - Steuart Bedford

Benjamin Britten said he aimed to 'restore brilliance, freedom and vitality to the musical setting of the English language'. In fact, as this anthology shows, he took inspiration not only from the great English poets, but from a much wider palette including Rimbaud, Hugo, Verlaine and Michelangelo, always displaying an astonishingly sensitive and sophisticated approach to word-setting. The collection features such masterpieces as the Serenade and Nocturne, the haunting Winter Words, the much-loved folksong arrangements, and the Michelangelo Sonnets and Holy Sonnets of John Donne performed by Peter Pears with the composer at the piano.

MusicWeb International, 29th October 2013
Basically, every fan of Britten and anyone interested in setting words to music should covet this set...[Pears] is at his peak in the nicely restored 1942 mono recording of the Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo...[an] indispensable collection of Britten's vocal works.



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