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Britten: Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings / Rattle

Album Summary

>Britten, Benjamin : Les Illuminations
>Britten, Benjamin : Serenade, for tenor, horn & strings, Op. 31
>Britten, Benjamin : Nocturne, Op. 60
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The vocal music of Benjamin Britten is central to Ian Bostridges repertoire; he has already recorded a number of Britten works in his growing discography. For this new recording of the three Britten orchestral song cycles, EMI Classics has assembled the finest forces possible - Ian Bostridge, Sir Simon Rattle, and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.

Penguin Guide
Bostridge proves an ideal interpreter of Britten's often taxing orchestral song-cycles...With Radek Baborák playing the horn obbligato with wonderful sophistication in the Serenade, the clarity of each of these masterly works is enhanced... Bostridge's word-painting is masterly throughout, matching the example of Peter Pears.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
This recording offers a profoundly considered and technically immaculate traversal of Britten's three great and varied cycles for tenor and orchestra, conceived with Pears's voice in mind. Authoritative as the recordings by composer and tenor may be, there is plenty of room for new insights into such complex and inspired scores.

Bostridge's particular gift for lighting texts from within, and projecting so immediately their images, comes into its own arrestingly in the Nocturne. With his vocal agility and vital word-painting at their most assured - allied to surely the most virtuoso account of the obbligato parts yet heard, and Rattle supremely alert - this reading sets a standard hard to equal. Add a perfectly balanced recording and you have an ideal result.

Not that the accounts of the earlier cycles are far behind in going to the heart of the matter. Bostridge catches all the fantasy and irony of Lesilluminations and projects the text with a biting delivery that stops just the right side of caricature. Rattle and his orchestra are once again aware of Britten's subtleties of rhythm and instrumentation.

The Serenade, most easily accessible of the three works, demonstrates the advantages of recording after live performances. Everything seems fresh-minted and immediate, nowhere more so than in Radek Baborák's bold yet sensitive horn playing. Some of the verbal overemphases that are now part of Bostridge's vocal persona might not have been approved by the composer but for the most part they second the plangent beauty of his voice, which is evident throughout these very personal and satisfying interpretations. Bostridge writes illuminating notes in the booklet, too, adding to the disc's value.



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Works Details

>Britten, Benjamin : Les Illuminations
  • Performer: Ian Bostridge
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Jesus Christ Church, Berlin, Germany (04/04/2005/04/09/2005)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1939

>Britten, Benjamin : Serenade, for tenor, horn & strings, Op. 31
  • Performers: Radek Baborák (Horn); Ian Bostridge
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Jesus Christ Church, Berlin, Germany (04/04/2005/04/09/2005)
  • Running Time: 22 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1943

>Britten, Benjamin : Nocturne, Op. 60
  • Performers: Radek Baborák (Horn); Andreas Blau (Flute); Ian Bostridge; Wenzel Fuchs (Clarinet); Marie-Pierre Langlamet (Harp); Stefan Schweigert (Bassoon); Wieland Welzel (Timpani)
  • Conductor: Simon Rattle
  • Ensemble: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Notes: Jesus Christ Church, Berlin, Germany (04/04/2005/04/09/2005)
  • Running Time: 27 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1958