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Britten At Aldeburgh - Bach: Cantatas; Purcell: Birthday Ode For Queen Mary

Release Date: 01/25/2010 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 466819  
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachHenry Purcell
Performer:  Helen WattsJohn Shirley-QuirkPeter PearsDietrich Fischer-Dieskau,   ... 
Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber OrchestraWandsworth School ChoirAldeburgh Festival Chorus,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The disc of Bach and Purcell offers BBC recordings from three different sources, with only the Bach Cantata No 102, Herr, deine Angen, an Aldeburgh Festival event, recorded at Blythburgh Church in 1965. That was the year when Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was persuaded to come to Aldeburgh to give the first performance of the cycle which Britten had just written for him, the Songs and Proverbs of William Blake. His superb contribution to this cantata came as a fine supplement, commanding and immaculate in both the expressive recitative and the lively Arioso. Yet the performance is at least as memorable for the deeply felt singing of Dame Janet Baker in the aria Web der Seele ('Alas for the Soul'). The other Bach Cantata, No 151 Susser Trost, was Read more recorded in St Andrew's, Holborn, in December 1968, again with a formidable line-up of soloists, and with Britten inspiring his choir - this time the Wandsworth School Boys' rather than the Festival Singers - to sing with a bright, clear tone and incisive attack. Heather Harper excels herself in the long opening aria, while Helen Watts is strong and positive in her noble account of the other aria.

The excellent notes of Philip Reed, formerly staff musicologist at the Britten-Pears library in Aldeburgh, not only analyse Britten's interpretations of all three works, but give valuable background information about the EGO soloists involved, notably the flautist, Richard Adeney, the oboist, Peter Graeme, and the trumpeter, Philip Jones (in the Purcell), who are all outstanding. This account of the 1693 Purcell Birthday Ode, Celebrate this festival, a happy choice, is taken from the concert which inaugurated the Queen Elizabeth Hall in March 1967. It was also the London debut of the already very distinctive countertenor James Bowman. Harper is again superb, as isJohn Shirley-Quirk, with Josephine Veasey firm and clear in her minor-key aria with its tricky ornamentation. Peter Pears is the constant among the soloists, wonderfully assured in each work, even though the juxtaposition of Bach and Purcell brings out the extra ease he has in Purcell, partly because the vocal figuration often anticipates Britten's own music. Any discrepancies in the sound have been well ironed out.

-- Gramophone [8/2000]
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Works on This Recording

Süsser Trost, mein Jesus kömmt, BWV 151 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Helen Watts (Alto), John Shirley-Quirk (Baritone), Peter Pears (Tenor)
Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Wandsworth School Choir
Written: 1725 
Herr, deine Augen sehen nach dem Glauben, BWV 102 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Baritone), Peter Pears (Tenor), Dame Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Aldeburgh Festival Chorus
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1726; Leipzig, Germany 
Celebrate this festival, Z 321 by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Peter Pears (Tenor), Heather Harper (Soprano), Josephine Veasey (Mezzo Soprano),
James Bowman (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Ambrosian Singers
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1693; England 

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