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Britten: Les Illuminations; Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge; Serenade for tenor, horn & strings / Toby Spence, tenor; Martin Owen, horn

Audio Samples

  1. Britten — Les illuminations, Op. 18: Fanfare $0.99 on iTunes
  2. Britten — Les illuminations, Op. 18: Villes $0.99 on iTunes
  3. Britten — Les illuminations, Op. 18: Phrase $0.99 on iTunes
  4. Britten — Les illuminations, Op. 18: Antique $0.99 on iTunes
  5. Britten — Les illuminations, Op. 18: Royauté $0.99 on iTunes
  6. Britten — Les illuminations, Op. 18: Marine $0.99 on iTunes
  7. Britten — Les illuminations, Op. 18: Interlude $0.99 on iTunes
  8. Britten — Les illuminations, Op. 18: Being Beauteous $0.99 on iTunes
  9. Britten — Les illuminations, Op. 18: Parade $0.99 on iTunes
  10. Britten — Les illuminations, Op. 18: Départ $0.99 on iTunes
  11. Britten — Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10: Introduction and Theme $0.99 on iTunes
  12. Britten — Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10: Variation I. Adagio $0.99 on iTunes
  13. Britten — Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10: Variation II. March $0.99 on iTunes
  14. Britten — Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10: Variation III. Romance $0.99 on iTunes
  15. Britten — Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10: Variation IV. Aria italiana $0.99 on iTunes
  16. Britten — Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10: Variation V. Bourrée classique $0.99 on iTunes
  17. Britten — Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10: Variation VI. Wiener Waltzer $0.99 on iTunes
  18. Britten — Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10: Variation VII. Moto perpetuo $0.99 on iTunes
  19. Britten — Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10: Variation VIII. Funeral March $0.99 on iTunes
  20. Britten — Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10: Variation IX. Chant $0.99 on iTunes
  21. Britten — Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10: Variation X. Fugue and Finale $0.99 on iTunes
  22. Britten — Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Op. 31: Prologue $0.99 on iTunes
  23. Britten — Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Op. 31: Pastoral $0.99 on iTunes
  24. Britten — Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Op. 31: Nocturne $0.99 on iTunes
  25. Britten — Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Op. 31: Elegy $0.99 on iTunes
  26. Britten — Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Op. 31: Dirge $0.99 on iTunes
  27. Britten — Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Op. 31: Hymn $0.99 on iTunes
  28. Britten — Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Op. 31: Sonnet $0.99 on iTunes
  29. Britten — Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Op. 31: Epilogue $0.99 on iTunes

Album Summary

>Britten, Benjamin : Les Illuminations
>Britten, Benjamin : Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge, for strings, Op. 10
>Britten, Benjamin : Serenade, for tenor, horn & strings, Op. 31
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

This recording brings together three youthful masterworks all composed by Benjamin Britten before his 30th birthday. Originally released in 2005 'Britten: Les Illuminations' has been re-issued as part of Linn's ECHO series which offers a second chance to enjoy the best of the label's award-winning catalogue. These are highly insightful performances, widely considered to be modern reference versions to set next to Britten's own. Clio Gould and the ensemble demonstrate playing of impressive unanimity of purpose, joyous intensity and clarity of detail. The ensemble is joined by the Royal Philharmonic Society's 2012 'Singer of the Year' Toby Spence, for two of Britten's most popular song cycles. Toby Spence's voice is ideally suited to the wide-ranging demands that Britten makes on it; his tonal freshness and acutely observed articulation of the words are absorbing. Martin Owen, whose horn playing has drawn comparisons with Dennis Brain, is equal to every one of the near-impossible tasks set him by Britten in the Serenade. Re-defining the string orchestra, Scottish Ensemble inspires audiences with vibrant and powerful performances. Scottish Ensemble is the UK's only professional string orchestra, built around a core of twelve outstanding string players. The ensemble is known both in the UK and internationally for its versatility and ambitious programming. Performing standing up, the individual layers bring an energetic and passionate dynamic to every performance.

American Record Guide, July/August 2015
These three early works of Britten - all written before he was 30 - make a convenient group because all use string orchestra, here the excellent Scottish Ensemble. The Illuminations are done with tenor, not soprano, so we have two cycles for tenor and strings, separated by the Bridge Variations, which were written when Britten was 24 and became his "breakthrough" piece. This recording was first released in 2005. In both the Illuminations and the Serenade Spence's very appealing lyrical sound is ideal for Britten; his diction, including the French in Illuminations, is very fine, and the texts are beautifully characterized. In the Serenade Martin Owen is also impressive in the horn solos. The Scottish Ensemble is terrific, too (a wonderful Aria Italiana in the Bridge Variations).

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Caird Hall, Dundee, UK (07/28/2003-07/30/2003).



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Works Details

>Britten, Benjamin : Les Illuminations
  • Performers: Clio Gould (Violin); Toby Spence (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Clio Gould
  • Ensemble: Scottish Ensemble
  • Notes: Caird Hall, Dundee, UK (07/28/2003-07/30/2003)
  • Running Time: 20 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1939

>Britten, Benjamin : Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge, for strings, Op. 10
  • Performers: Georgia Boyd (Viola); Donald Gillan (Cello); Clio Gould (Violin); David Peller (Double Bass)
  • Conductor: Clio Gould
  • Ensemble: Scottish Ensemble
  • Notes: Caird Hall, Dundee, UK (07/28/2003-07/30/2003)
  • Running Time: 24 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1937

>Britten, Benjamin : Serenade, for tenor, horn & strings, Op. 31
  • Performers: Georgia Boyd (Viola); Clio Gould (Violin); Martin Owen (Horn); Toby Spence (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Clio Gould
  • Ensemble: Scottish Ensemble
  • Notes: Caird Hall, Dundee, UK (07/28/2003-07/30/2003)
  • Running Time: 22 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1943