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British Composers - Britten, Walton, Tippett

British Composers: Britten Walton & Tippet / Var
Release Date: 05/03/2011 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 95395   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Benjamin BrittenSir William WaltonMichael Tippett
Performer:  Dame Janet BakerRobert TearSheila ArmstrongIda Haendel,   ... 
Conductor:  André PrevinPaavo BerglundSir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony OrchestraLondon Symphony ChorusSt. Clement Danes Grammar School Boys Choir,   ... 
Number of Discs: 5 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"The Britten-Walton-Tippett set is an exemplar of the excellence found in the EMI house tradition. There are whoopingly good recordings of the Spring Symphony and the Four Sea Interludes – sadly the Grimes - Passacaglia is not included. What a stunning team Previn and the LSO made! If you doubt it just listen to the Storm Interlude and the syncopated birdsong in the now rarely heard Symphony. The violin concertos by Britten and Walton are played by Ida Haendel with typically sweetly penetrating tone placed amid the seething, dramatic and emollient orchestral canvas articulated by Berglund and the Bournemouth Symphony. What a great player Haendel is. Her reading of the Walton has been part of the backdrop to my Read more life along with the more ferociously ardent Heifetz (with the composer) and, from left-field, the glorious Francescatti (Sony). The two concertos set each other off very nicely with the Walton being the more succulently romantic of the two and the Britten itself being at the romantic end of Britten’s own spectrum.
 
After lushly seductive orchestral pastures we turn for catharsis to the assertively recorded and performed CD 3. Britten is pleased to oblige via the statuesque gestures and wit of the Suite for violin and piano. Britten relaxes a little for the glittering final movement. The earnest little Elegy (1930) is in the hands of Paul Silverthorne and his viola. Moray Welsh in this recording shows himself a most masterly cellist. Such a pity that his 1979 broadcast of the Foulds Cello Sonata with Ronald Stevenson appears not to be available to issue. His stirring and atmospheric Britten Cello Sonata with John Lenehan is superb. Roy Carter leads the listener through the plaintive fields that are the Six Metamorphoses; one senses that he is a supplicant for our attention rather than shouting that we must. The result is that we want to attend to this reed singer.
 
After Britten the chamber music composer we now encounter Walton in the same genre. The Piano Quartet (1921) is redolent of Howells’ example. The two would play well in the same programme. It’s not typical mature Walton but fascinating anyway. Will we ever hear his contemporaneous overture Doctor Syntax, I wonder? Next comes the Violin Sonata (1947-49) – which is mature Walton. It will be recalled that Christopher Palmer orchestrated the work to make of it a companion to the Violin Concerto. However it is a strong work in its own right and emerges so in the hands of Janice Graham and John Alley who also played the Britten Suite on CD 3. This time all the Walton hallmarks are glowingly present. The warmly Mediterranean Five Bagatelles are most adeptly played by Tom Kerstens. Glorious full DDD sound enhances the seductive effect. These five pieces were orchestrated as the Varii Capricci and should be heard more often in that format.
 
The last disc in the set is given over to Marriner’s Tippett in vivid 1995 recordings. The Divertimento skips, chirrups and rollocks along in the sort of argot reserved by British composers for such English folksong jollies. There‘s Britten’s A Time There Was, Moeran’s Serenade and RVW’s Folksong Suite. It’s all very pleasing. When we eventually get to hear Tippett’s folk-opera Robin Hood it will presumably sound similar. By contrast the pleasant Little Music for Strings while strongly put across is rather cool and monochrome. The Sonata for Four Horns is stirringly and poetically advocated by the Michael Thompson Horn Quartet. That said I though the textures more successfully resolved in the hands of the Universal competition from the mid- 1960s: The disc ends very well indeed with the Concerto for Double String Orchestra. It’s a work in the bloodstream of Marriner and the Academy."

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International  
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Works on This Recording

1. Spring Symphony, Op. 44 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Dame Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano), Robert Tear (Tenor), Sheila Armstrong (Soprano)
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus,  St. Clement Danes Grammar School Boys Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; England 
Date of Recording: 06/1978 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London 
Length: 44 Minutes 47 Secs. 
2. Peter Grimes: Sea Interludes (4), Op. 33a by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  André Previn
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944-1945; England 
Date of Recording: 10/1974 
Venue:  Studio no 1, Abbey Road, London 
Length: 16 Minutes 20 Secs. 
3. Concerto for Violin in D minor, Op. 15 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Ida Haendel (Violin)
Conductor:  Paavo Berglund
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939/1958; England 
Date of Recording: 06/12/1977 
Venue:  Guildhall, Southampton 
Length: 31 Minutes 5 Secs. 
4. Concerto for Violin in B minor by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Ida Haendel (Violin)
Conductor:  Paavo Berglund
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938-1939; England 
Date of Recording: 06/13/1977 
Venue:  Guildhall, Southampton 
Length: 31 Minutes 4 Secs. 
5. Suite for Violin and Piano, Op. 6 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  John Alley (Piano), Alexander Barantschik (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra members
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934-1935; England 
Date of Recording: 12/14/1994 
Venue:  Conway Hall, London, England 
Length: 16 Minutes 0 Secs. 
6. Elegy for Viola solo by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Paul Silverthorne (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra members
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; England 
Date of Recording: 11/14/1994 
Venue:  Conway Hall, London, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 50 Secs. 
7. Sonata for Cello and Piano in C major, Op. 65 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Moray Welsh (Cello), John Lenehan (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra members
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1961; England 
Date of Recording: 12/01/1994 
Venue:  Conway Hall, London, England 
Length: 22 Minutes 16 Secs. 
8. Metamorphoses (6) after Ovid for Oboe solo, Op. 49 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Roy Carter (Oboe)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra members
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951; England 
Date of Recording: 01/1995 
Venue:  All Saints Church, East Finchley, UK 
Length: 14 Minutes 13 Secs. 
9. Quartet for Piano and Strings by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Paul Silverthorne (Viola), Janice Graham (Violin), Moray Welsh (Cello),
Israela Margalit (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra members
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 09/29/1995 
Venue:  All Saints Church, East Finchley, UK 
Length: 28 Minutes 52 Secs. 
10. Sonata for Violin and Piano by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Janice Graham (Violin), John Alley (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra members
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; England 
Date of Recording: 08/28/1995 
Venue:  Conway Hall, London, England 
Length: 26 Minutes 0 Secs. 
11. Bagatelles (5) for Guitar by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Tom Kerstens (Guitar)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; England 
Date of Recording: 09/1994 
Venue:  St John's, Downshire Hill, Hampstead 
Length: 14 Minutes 10 Secs. 
12. Divertimento on Sellinger's Round by Michael Tippett
Performer:  Lucy Gould (Violin)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1953-1954; England 
Date of Recording: 1995 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, Southwark, England 
13. Little Music by Michael Tippett
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; England 
Date of Recording: 1995 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, Southwark, England 
14. Sonata for 4 Horns by Michael Tippett
Performer:  Michael Thompson (French Horn), Hugh Seenan (French Horn), Richard Watkins (French Horn),
Jeffrey Bryant (French Horn)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Michael Thompson Horn Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1955; England 
Date of Recording: 1995 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, Southwark, England 
15. Concerto for Double String Orchestra by Michael Tippett
Performer:  David Nolan (Violin), Stephen Orton (Cello)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1938-1939; England 
Date of Recording: 1995 
Venue:  Henry Wood Hall, Southwark, England 

Sound Samples

A Spring Symphony Op. 44 (1986 Digital Remaster): Introduction: Shine out (Anon. 16th century)
A Spring Symphony Op. 44 (1986 Digital Remaster): The merry Cuckoo (E Spencer)
A Spring Symphony Op. 44 (1986 Digital Remaster): Spring, the sweet Spring (T Nashe)
A Spring Symphony Op. 44 (1986 Digital Remaster): The Driving Boy (G Peele and J Clare)
A Spring Symphony Op. 44 (1986 Digital Remaster): The Morning Star (J Milton)
A Spring Symphony Op. 44 (1986 Digital Remaster): Welcome, Maids of Honour (R Herrick)
A Spring Symphony Op. 44 (1986 Digital Remaster): Waters above! (H Vaughan)
A Spring Symphony Op. 44 (1986 Digital Remaster): Out of the lawn lie in bad (W H Auden)
A Spring Symphony Op. 44 (1986 Digital Remaster): When will my May come (Barnefield)
A Spring Symphony Op. 44 (1986 Digital Remaster): Fair and Fair (G Peele)
A Spring Symphony Op. 44 (1986 Digital Remaster): Sound the flute! (W Blake)
A Spring Symphony Op. 44 (1986 Digital Remaster): Finale: London, to thee I do present (J Beaumont, J Fletcher & anon. 13th century)
Four Sea Interludes Op. 33a (from Peter Grimes) (1976 Digital Remaster): I. Dawn (Lento e tranquillo)
Four Sea Interludes Op. 33a (from Peter Grimes) (1976 Digital Remaster): II. Sunday Morning (Allegro spiritoso)
Four Sea Interludes Op. 33a (from Peter Grimes) (1976 Digital Remaster): III. Moonlight (Andante comodo e rubato)
Four Sea Interludes Op. 33a (from Peter Grimes) (1976 Digital Remaster): IV. Storm (Presto con fuoco)
Violin Concerto Op. 15 (revised version) (1992 Digital Remaster): I. Moderato con moto
Violin Concerto Op. 15 (revised version) (1992 Digital Remaster): II. Vivace - Cadenza -
Violin Concerto Op. 15 (revised version) (1992 Digital Remaster): III. Passacaglia (Andante lento (un poco meno mosso) - Largamente (lento) - Lento e solenne)
Violin Concerto (revised version) (1992 Digital Remaster): I. Andante tranquillo
Violin Concerto (revised version) (1992 Digital Remaster): II. Presto capriccioso alla napolitana - Trio (Canzonetta) - Tempo I
Violin Concerto (revised version) (1992 Digital Remaster): III. Vivace

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