Notes & Reviews:
As part of the celebration of Britten's Centenery in 2013, this new recording presents Britten's five Canticles, performed by tenor Ben Johnson with James Baillieu accompanying. Ben Johnson describes his attraction to these works in his self-penned notes for the disc: "Each is deep with meaning or subversion, a trademark of Britten's music to a modern audience. In their very performance they glide through such variety of style that it makes them wonderfully difficult to categorize. They are song, opera, cantata and chamber music, and so they correspond with the most delicate of intimacy and to the most effective of grand gesture ... In his biography of Britten, Humphrey Carpenter points out the close links between the Canticles and Britten's operas. This answers in part their difference from the 'usual' song repertoire: their religious flavor (a stronger taste in some than others) mixed with the circumstances of their composition make for a unique strand in Britten's output."