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Around Britten - works for solo cello by Benjamin Britten, John Tavener and Matthew Barley / Matthew Barley, cello

Album Summary

>Britten, Benjamin : Suite for solo cello no 3, Op. 87
>Britten, Benjamin : Greensleeves, folksong arrangement for high voice & piano
>Britten, Benjamin : Folksongs (7), Volume 1
>Bryars, Gavin : Tre Laude Dolce, for cello
>Britten, Benjamin : The Holy Sonnets
>Tavener, John : Thrinos, for cello solo
>Tavener, John : Chant, for solo cello
>Britten, Benjamin : Gloriana
>Barley, Matthew : Improvisation for cello
>Britten, Benjamin : Oliver Cromwell, for voice & piano (Folk Songs, Vol. 1)
Performer Composers

Notes & Reviews:

American Record Guide, July/August 2013
Here is another concept program. It opens with the Britten Suite 3, written for Rostropovich in 1971. In this work, the composer based the material on four Russian tunes, three from Tchaikovsky's folk-song collections and the last from the English hymnal, a hymn for the departed called Kontakion. This work is a fine one, full of variety and feeling. This is basically a vocal line with occasional additions, a beautiful, austere suite written in 2007. The two pieces by Sir John Tavener (b 1944) also give a vocal impression. They are based on Greek chant and are played with grace-notes of a Near-Eastern origin. Barley has made multiple-cello arrangements of five other pieces by Britten or arranged by him, 'Concord' from his opera Gloriana, a song of his, 'Since she whom I loved', and three folksongs, 'Greensleeves', 'The Salley Gardens', and 'Oliver Cromwell'. These were all recorded in Barley's home studio and generally consist of a solo line accompanied at an apparent distance by other cello lines, all played by Barley. Also, there is a ten-minute improvisation by him, where he plays in registers. My overall impression is positive, as much for the cellist's concept as for his excellent playing.

Financial Times, 2nd February 2013
This will surely go down as one of the more offbeat centenary tributes to Britten. Barley, an unclassifiable cellist, builds his anthology around a thoughtful performance of Britten's Third Suit for cello and the "quietly radiating peace" he finds in it.

Gramophone Magazine, April 2013
As always, Barley's playing is fearless. The disc is a voyage around the cello as well as around Britten, and one that never becomes relentless. In his Improvisation, there is skilfully woven reference to the profusion of styles in which he plays...The high point, though, is Barley's arrangement of 'Since she whom I loved'. Even without the words, Barley has managed to capture - and further amplify - its great sadness and isolation.

BBC Music Magazine, May 2013
His performance of the Britten lets the light in on what can seem a rather obscure, labyrinthine work: Barley's clear, calm approach lays out the score before us...The rest of the disc is like entering the chill-out room: Barley's well crafted, multi-tracked cello arrangements of Britten's folk songs and 'Concord' from Gloriana will appeal to many.

International Record Review, May 2013
A formidable achievement.



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Works Details

>Britten, Benjamin : Suite for solo cello no 3, Op. 87
  • Performer: Matthew Barley (Cello)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1971

>Britten, Benjamin : Greensleeves, folksong arrangement for high voice & piano
  • Performer: Matthew Barley (Cello)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: circa 1941

>Britten, Benjamin : Folksongs (7), Volume 1
  • Performer: Matthew Barley (Cello)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: circa 1943

>Bryars, Gavin : Tre Laude Dolce, for cello
  • Performer: Matthew Barley (Cello)
  • Running Time: 17 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2007

>Britten, Benjamin : The Holy Sonnets :: Since she whom I loved
  • Performer: Matthew Barley (Cello)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1945

>Tavener, John : Thrinos, for cello solo
  • Performer: Matthew Barley (Cello)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1990

>Tavener, John : Chant, for solo cello
  • Performer: Matthew Barley (Cello)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1995

>Britten, Benjamin : Gloriana :: Concord
  • Performer: Matthew Barley (Cello)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 26 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1953

>Barley, Matthew : Improvisation for cello
  • Performer: Matthew Barley (Cello)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2012

>Britten, Benjamin : Oliver Cromwell, for voice & piano (Folk Songs, Vol. 1)
  • Performer: Matthew Barley (Cello)
  • Period Time: Modern