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Britten: Cello Symphony; Symphonic Suite From Gloriana; Four Sea Interludes From Peter Grimes

Britten / Murray / Watkins / Bbcp / Gardner
Release Date: 03/29/2011 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 10658   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Robert MurrayPaul Watkins
Conductor:  Edward Gardner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


These are outstanding performances, as good or better than the composer's own. Edward Gardner tears into the Four Sea Interludes with uninhibited excitement. It's great to hear the high violins and flutes in "Dawn" swooping and soaring like the gulls that they're supposed to be evoking. "Sunday Morning" has an infectious bounce, while "Moonlight" casts a rapt stillness abruptly shattered by perhaps the most vicious storm on disc. It's one of those versions you will listen to and say, "Finally, that's the way it should go!"

The suite from Gloriana is still a comparative rarity, which is a pity, as the music really is first-rate Britten. But then,
Read more so is the opera; why anyone cares that it flopped at its premiere is beyond me (the Queen allegedly was not amused, as if her opinion matters). The Lute Song is very nicely sung by Robert Murray, but the version for oboe rather than voice strikes me as more appropriate within the context of the symphonic suite as a whole. Granted, Britten used Peter Pears, but that was an opportunity for him to give his partner something to do while on tour.

Finally, there's the Cello Symphony: a tough, somewhat gnarly work that receives a performance every bit as fine as Britten/Rostropovich, which still remains the benchmark version. Paul Watkins and Gardner somehow make music out of the low, grotty opening, pacing the movement as unerringly as did Britten himself. The finale works its way up to a wonderfully life-affirming conclusion, and Watkins does a wonderful job with the lengthy preceding cadenza. In short, this release is a major entry in the Britten discography, and the sonics are every bit the equal of the interpretations.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Gloriana: Symphonic Suite, Op 53a by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Robert Murray ()
Conductor:  Edward Gardner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953; England 
Venue:  Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manche 
Length: 25 Minutes 26 Secs. 
2.
Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 68 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Paul Watkins (Cello)
Conductor:  Edward Gardner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; England 
Venue:  Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manche 
Length: 34 Minutes 2 Secs. 
3.
Peter Grimes: Sea Interludes (4), Op. 33a by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Edward Gardner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944-1945; England 
Venue:  Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manche 
Length: 15 Minutes 24 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Symphonic Suite, Op. 53a, "Gloriana": I. The Tournament
Symphonic Suite, Op. 53a, "Gloriana": II. The Lute Song
Symphonic Suite, Op. 53a, "Gloriana": III. Courtly Dances
Symphonic Suite, Op. 53a, "Gloriana": IV. Gloriana Moritura
Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 68: I. Allegro maestoso
Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 68: II. Presto inquieto
Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 68: III. Adagio -
Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 68: IV. Passacaglia: Andante allegro
Peter Grimes: 4 Sea Interludes, Op. 33a: No. 1. Dawn
Peter Grimes: 4 Sea Interludes, Op. 33a: No. 2. Sunday Morning
Peter Grimes: 4 Sea Interludes, Op. 33a: No. 3. Moonlight
Peter Grimes: 4 Sea Interludes, Op. 33a: No. 4. Storm

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