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The Britten Collection

Britten / The Sixteen / Christophers
Release Date: 03/05/2013 
Label:  Coro   Catalog #: 16107   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Carys LaneRuth DeanLibby CrabtreeSimon Birchall,   ... 
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 12 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Reviews of some of the original recordings that make up this set:


Fans of Benjamin Britten and of The Sixteen will rejoice at this reissue of material from the choir's acclaimed three-volume Britten series originally recorded for the now-defunct Collins label. (Presumably all of the music from the complete set eventually will appear under the Sixteen's new Coro emblem.) If you know the earlier recordings, you'll quickly notice that the program here is different from the original configurations: there are five selections from Collins' Vol. 3--Hymn to the Virgin, A Hymn of Saint Columba, Hymn to Saint Peter, Jubilate Deo, Festival Te Deum; three from Vol. 2--Rejoice in the Lamb;
Read more Antiphon; Te Deum in C; and the Hymn to Saint Cecilia from Vol. 1.

Recorded performances of Britten's choral music don't get any better than this. No one will argue that this choir was/is capable of singing anything, and singing it as well as or better than anyone--and these Britten pieces are made for exuberant, exultant, exacting singing that the Sixteen can do without a blip, a glitch, or the slightest faltering step. From the fawning, devotional A Hymn to the Virgin to the wild and glorious Rejoice in the Lamb, this is music most perfectly created and most grandly and emphatically presented. A first-class effort; a classic.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com


This is a reconfiguration of performances that originally appeared on three different CDs in The Sixteen's Britten Choral Works series for Collins Classics in the early 1990s. This time the program logically joins three major works for treble voices--A Ceremony of Carols, Missa brevis in D, and A Boy was Born--with three shorter Christmas-themed pieces for mixed choir. The main thing to know is that these are among the finest Britten performances you will hear--and it's especially gratifying to experience the difficult A Boy was Born choral variations rendered with respect for the composer's explicit interpretive markings in the score. And although it's always nice to hear a really outstanding choir of boy trebles sing A Ceremony of Carols, the women (and a few male altos) of The Sixteen offer an irresistible crispness and polish--and flawless intonation--that's hard to beat. Along with a vibrant Missa brevis and the rarely-heard A Shepherd's Carol, The Sycamore Tree, and Sweet was the Song, this makes an essential set for all Britten and choral music fans.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Hymn to the Virgin by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930/1934; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 46 Secs. 
2. Hymn of St. Columba (Regis regum rectissimi), for chorus & organ by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: Modern 
Written: 1962; United Kingdom 
Length: 2 Minutes 0 Secs. 
3. Hymn to St Peter, Op. 56a by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Carys Lane (), Ruth Dean ()
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; England 
Length: 6 Minutes 6 Secs. 
4. Antiphon, Op. 56b by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Libby Crabtree (), Carys Lane (), Ruth Dean ()
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; England 
Length: 5 Minutes 27 Secs. 
5. Te Deum, for trumpet, chorus & organ in C major by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Libby Crabtree ()
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: Modern 
Written: 1934; United Kingdom 
Length: 8 Minutes 43 Secs. 
6. Jubilate Deo in C major by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1961; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 37 Secs. 
7. Hymn to St Cecilia, Op. 27 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Ruth Dean (), Simon Birchall (), Nicola [Soprano Vocals] Jenkin (),
Philip Daggett ()
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; England 
Length: 10 Minutes 45 Secs. 
8. Festival Te Deum, for trumpet, chorus & organ, Op. 32 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Ruth Dean ()
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: Modern 
Written: 1944; United Kingdom 
Length: 6 Minutes 20 Secs. 
9. Rejoice in the Lamb, festival cantata for trumpet, ATB soloists, chorus & organ, Op. 30 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Carys Lane (), Simon Birchall (), Simon Berridge ()
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: Modern 
Written: 1943; United Kingdom 
Length: 16 Minutes 24 Secs. 
10. Gloriana, Op. 53: Choral Dances by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Ian Partridge ()
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; England 
Length: 8 Minutes 14 Secs. 
11. Advance Democracy by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
12. Ballad of Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; England 
Length: 8 Minutes 37 Secs. 
13. Wedding Anthem, Op. 46 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Neil MacKenzie (), Ruth Dean ()
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; England 
Length: 9 Minutes 7 Secs. 
14. Flower Songs (5), Op. 47 by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950; England 
Length: 10 Minutes 20 Secs. 
15. Sacred and Profane, Op. 91 by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1974-1975; England 
Length: 14 Minutes 29 Secs. 
16. A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Sioned Williams (Harp)
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; England 
Length: 19 Minutes 42 Secs. 
17. A Shepherd's Carol by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Carys Lane (), Simon Birchall (), Neil MacKenzie ()
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 35 Secs. 
18. Sycamore Tree by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930/1967; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 50 Secs. 
19. Missa Brevis in D major, Op. 63 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Rebecca Outram (), Carys Lane ()
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959; England 
Length: 9 Minutes 13 Secs. 
20. A Boy was Born, Op. 3 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Jamie Hopkins (Voice)
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1933/1955; England 
Length: 29 Minutes 9 Secs. 
21. Sweet was the song by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Harry Christophers
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 

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