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Britten: Complete Songs, Vol. 1 / Andrew Tortise, James Geer, Ben Johnson, Caryl Hughes

Audio Samples

>Britten, Benjamin : To lie flat on the back, song for high voice & piano
>Britten, Benjamin : Night covers up the rigid land, song for high voice & piano
>Britten, Benjamin : A Dirge, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
>Britten, Benjamin : Virtue in Deeds Not Words, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
>Britten, Benjamin : Prithee, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
>Britten, Benjamin : Lucy, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
>Britten, Benjamin : Canticle I
>     My Beloved Is Mine, for high voice & piano, Op. 40
>Britten, Benjamin : Um Mitternacht, song for high voice & piano
>Britten, Benjamin : Hölderlin Fragments (6), song cycle, for tenor & piano, Op. 61
>Britten, Benjamin : Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35
>Britten, Benjamin : Cabaret songs (4) for Hedli Anderson, for voice & piano
>Britten, Benjamin : Tit for Tat
>Britten, Benjamin : Beware!, early songs (3) for medium voice & piano
>Britten, Benjamin : Lilian, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
>Britten, Benjamin : The Joy of Grief, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
>Britten, Benjamin : The Poet's Echo, song cycle for high voice & piano, Op. 76
>Britten, Benjamin : Winter Words, Op. 52

Album Summary

>Britten, Benjamin : To lie flat on the back, song for high voice & piano
>Britten, Benjamin : Night covers up the rigid land, song for high voice & piano
>Britten, Benjamin : A Dirge, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
>Britten, Benjamin : Virtue in Deeds Not Words, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
>Britten, Benjamin : Prithee, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
>Britten, Benjamin : Lucy, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
>Britten, Benjamin : Canticle I
>Britten, Benjamin : Um Mitternacht, song for high voice & piano
>Britten, Benjamin : Hölderlin Fragments (6), song cycle, for tenor & piano, Op. 61
>Britten, Benjamin : Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35
>Britten, Benjamin : Cabaret songs (4) for Hedli Anderson, for voice & piano
>Britten, Benjamin : Tit for Tat
>Britten, Benjamin : Beware!, early songs (3) for medium voice & piano
>Britten, Benjamin : Lilian, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
>Britten, Benjamin : The Joy of Grief, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
>Britten, Benjamin : The Poet's Echo, song cycle for high voice & piano, Op. 76
>Britten, Benjamin : Winter Words, Op. 52
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Throughout his creative life, Benjamin Britten was a prolific composer of songs, producing over 100 settings for voice and piano, in addition to the works for voice and orchestra. His songs for voice and piano - of which this is the first in a two volume 4CD cycle - contain settings by poets as diverse as Michelangelo, Hölderlin, Hardy, Pushkin, Auden and Soutar. The earliest songs date from 1922, when Britten was just nine years old. These rarities display little of the mature composer's style, but they are confident and charming settings. Many of these early songs are receiving their premiere recordings here. The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Winter Words and The Poet's Echo represent mature Britten. This survey of all Britten's songs for voice and piano is a major project, and Malcolm Martineau has assembled some of the finest young singers of our time for this fascinating journey through this important repertoire.

"The John Donne sonnets (Ben Johnson) and The Poet's Echo (Katherine Broderick) are very fine, but the most compelling track is "Canticle 1", a masterpiece powerfully delivered by Andrew Tortise." -The Observer

"Martineau has gathered a gratifyingly formidable array of young British singing talent. Ben Johnson is commanding in an urgent, passionate reading of The Holy Sonnets of John Donne. Andrew Tortise conveys rapturously intense emotions in Canticle I...Perhaps the best is left until last, when Robin Tritschler gives a fresh-sounding Winter Words." -The Sunday Times

"Martineau paces his survey of Britten’s songbook with the same lightly worn expertise he brings to his accompaniments, alternating lighter and darker material, innocent and knowing, in a way that maintains the listener’s interest." -Financial Times

BBC Music Magazine
James Geer, a tenor with an instinct for the inflection of poetry that matches the composer's own, offers 'A Dirge'...Katherine Broderick brings by turns a forlorn beauty and a fiery plangency to the Pushkin settings of The Poet's Echo...We have a tiny and tantalising glimpse of tenor Nicky Spence...O that I had ne'er been married...a touching and memorable gem within this auspicious first volume.

Gramophone Magazine
Among so many potential successors to Peter Pears...two tenors stand out: Robin Tritschler, who gives a performance of exceptional tenderness in the ever-popular Winter Words, and Ben Johnson, whose string and intense singing of the Holy Sonnets of John Donne nails his colours to the Britten mast with impressive authority...As always, Malcolm Martineau's accompaniments are a constant source of inspiration on the journey.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-).



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Works Details

>Britten, Benjamin : To lie flat on the back, song for high voice & piano
  • Performers: James Greer; Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
  • Notes: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1937

>Britten, Benjamin : Night covers up the rigid land, song for high voice & piano
  • Performers: James Greer; Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
  • Notes: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1937

>Britten, Benjamin : A Dirge, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
  • Performers: James Greer; Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
  • Notes: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: circa 1926

>Britten, Benjamin : Virtue in Deeds Not Words, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
  • Performers: Caryl Hughes; Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
  • Notes: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 12/04/1926

>Britten, Benjamin : Prithee, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
  • Performers: Andrew Tortise (Tenor); Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
  • Notes: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 12/03/1926

>Britten, Benjamin : Lucy, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
  • Performers: Ben Johnson; Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
  • Notes: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 12/05/1926

>Britten, Benjamin : Canticle I :: My Beloved Is Mine, for high voice & piano, Op. 40
  • Performers: Andrew Tortise (Tenor); Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
  • Notes: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1947

>Britten, Benjamin : Um Mitternacht, song for high voice & piano
  • Performers: James Greer; Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
  • Notes: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: circa 1960

>Britten, Benjamin : Hölderlin Fragments (6), song cycle, for tenor & piano, Op. 61
  • Performers: James Greer; Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
  • Notes: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-)
  • Running Time: 11 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1958

>Britten, Benjamin : Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35
  • Performers: Ben Johnson; Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
  • Notes: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-)
  • Running Time: 23 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1945

>Britten, Benjamin : Cabaret songs (4) for Hedli Anderson, for voice & piano
  • Performers: Caryl Hughes; Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
  • Notes: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1937

>Britten, Benjamin : Tit for Tat
  • Performers: Malcolm Martineau (Piano); Philip Smith
  • Notes: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-)
  • Running Time: 9 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1931

>Britten, Benjamin : Beware!, early songs (3) for medium voice & piano
  • Performers: Philip Smith; Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
  • Notes: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1926

>Britten, Benjamin : Lilian, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
  • Performers: Philip Smith; Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
  • Notes: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-)
  • Running Time: 3 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Britten, Benjamin : The Joy of Grief, song for voice & piano (juvenilia)
  • Performers: Katherine Broderick (Soprano); Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
  • Notes: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 12/04/1926

>Britten, Benjamin : The Poet's Echo, song cycle for high voice & piano, Op. 76
  • Performers: Malcolm Martineau (Piano); Katherine Broderick (Soprano)
  • Notes: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1965

>Britten, Benjamin : Winter Words, Op. 52
  • Performers: Robin Tritschler (Tenor); Malcolm Martineau (Piano)
  • Notes: Britten Studio, Snape Maltings (2010-01-14_2010-01-17&2010-)
  • Running Time: 20 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1953