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Britten: Peter Grimes / Richard Hickox, Philip Langridge

Album Summary

>Britten, Benjamin : Peter Grimes
Performers Conductors Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"Electrifying as their rivals are, the LSO singers seem just that much more arresting...the sense of total music-theatre is present throughout and it's excitingly laid before us by the City of London Sinfonia and the recording...the highest tradition of Chandos sound: indeed, quite spectacular, vast in range, with well-managed perspectives and just enough hints of stage action to be convincing." -Gramophone

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Any reading that so potently confirms the genius of this piece must have a distinguished place in the discography. In the first place there's Langridge's tense, sinewy, sensitive Grimes. Predictably he rises to the challenge of the Mad Scene; this is a man hugely to be pitied, yet there's a touch of resignation, of finding some sort of peace at last, after all the agony of the soul. His portrayal is tense and immediate, and a match for that of Pears in personal identification - listen to the eager touch at 'We strained in the wind'. The next composite heroes are the members of the chorus. Electrifying as their rivals are, the LSO singers, trained by Stephen Westrop, seem just that much more arresting, not least in the hue-and-cry of Act 3, quite terrifying in its immediacy as recorded by Chandos.

Hickox's interpretation has little to fear from the distinguished competition. Many details are placed with special care, particularly in the Interludes and the parodistic dances in Act 3, and whole episodes, such as the Grimes- Balstrode dispute in Act 1, have seldom sounded so dramatic. Once or twice one would have liked a firmer forward movement, as in the fifth Interlude, but the sense of total music-theatre is present throughout.

Of the other soloists, the one comparative disappointment is Janice Watson's Ellen Orford. She sings the part with tone as lovely as any of her rivals on disc and with carefully wrought phrasing, but doesn't have the experience to stand out from the village regulars.

Britten's set remains hors concours, but that recording stretches over three CDs.

Hickox is the finest of the modern recordings: as sound it's quite spectacular, vast in range, with well-managed perspectives and just enough hints of stage action to be convincing.


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Works Details

>Britten, Benjamin : Peter Grimes
  • Performers: Yvonne Barclay (Soprano); Matthew Best; Anne Collins (Voice); John Connell (Bass); John Fryatt (Tenor); John Graham-Hall (Tenor); Ned Harrison (Voice); Philip Langridge (Voice); Alan Opie; Pamela Stephen (Mezzo Soprano); Janice Watson (Soprano); Roderick Williams (Bass Baritone)
  • Conductor: Richard Hickox
  • Ensemble: London Symphony Chorus
  • Notes: Bleackheath Concert Halls (07/02/1995/08/31/1995)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 25 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Opera/Operetta
  • Written: 1945