- John Ainsley (Tenor)
Notes & Reviews:
Following their acclaimed recordings of Berlioz's Grande Messe des Morts and Mendelssohn's Elijah, Paul McCreesh has once again assembled the mass forces of Gabrieli Consort & Players and Wroclaw Phiharmonic Choir to record one of the iconic masterpieces of the 20th century oratorio repertoire. The work reflects Britten's long-held and committed pacifist beliefs. Composed to mark the consecration of a new Cathedral in Coventry, Britten combines the Latin text of the Missa pro Defunctiswith nine poems by the First World War poet Wilfred Owen, which provide a moving (and frequently uncomfortable) commentary on the liturgical text.
The Times, 7th September 2013
Thrilling in many places (notably the Dies Irae and the great outcries of the Sanctus ), and slightly muffled in others. What do emerge beautifully are the mainly consoling solo voices of Susan Gritton, John Mark Ainsley and Christopher Maltman.
The Guardian, 12th September 2013
The transparency of the extutres and the crisp outlines are a delight. You hear more of the subcutaneous detail of Britten's scoring, I think, than on any previous recording... If sometimes the performance seems a little undersized, it's still totally involving.
MusicWeb International, 19th September 2013
This newcomer enters a distinguished field. One element that marks it out immediately is the contribution of Christopher Maltman who gives one of the best, most nuanced performances of the baritone solo role that I've ever heard...McCreesh yet again shows himself to have full command of very large forces...His control is especially impressive.
Gramophone Magazine, October 2013
Dinsley is almost unbearably tender in 'Move him into the sun' and Maltman, apart from a few
International Record Review, November 2013
McCreesh brings clarity and some superb solo singing to his version.
BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2013
[McCreesh's] New College choristers have the ideal mix if celestial glow and nimble impatience; his orchestra is wonderfully articulate. And the sound picture has the greatest depth of range and recording... the profundity and coherence of McCreesh's reading sets a new standard for this work.
American Record Guide, March/April 2014
McCreesh strikes a fine balance between grandeur and intimacy. Gritton easily scales the vocal heights. Ainsley is exquisitely emotional, adopting a tender nuance for 'Move him into the sun'. Maltman is not just mellifluous, but sings a finely nuanced interpretation of the texts.
Recording information: Birmingham Town Hall (01/05/2013-01/09/2013); Church of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown, Oxford (01/05/2013-01/09/2013); Watford Colosseum (01/05/2013-01/09/2013); Birmingham Town Hall (02/26/2013); Church of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown, Oxford (02/26/2013); Watford Colosseum (02/26/2013); Birmingham Town Hall (03/15/2013); Church of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown, Oxford (03/15/2013); Watford Colosseum (03/15/2013).
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Works DetailsBritten, Benjamin : War Requiem, Op. 66
- Performer: John Ainsley (Tenor)
- Conductor: Paul McCreesh
- Ensemble: Gabrieli Players
- Notes: Church of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown, Oxford (01/05/2013-01/09/2013); Birmingham Town Hall (01/05/2013-01/09/2013); Watford Colosseum (01/05/2013-01/09/2013); Church of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown, Oxford (02/26/2013); Birmingham Town Hall (02/26/2013); Watford Colosseum (02/26/2013); Church of St Michael & All Angels, Summertown, Oxford (03/15/2013); Birmingham Town Hall (03/15/2013); Watford Colosseum (03/15/2013)
- Running Time: 10 min. 16 sec.
- Period Time: Modern
- Form: Choral
- Written: 1961