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Britten: Peter Grimes / Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears

Release Date: 02/19/2001 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 467682   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Marion StudholmeMarcus NormanPeter PearsJohn Lanigan,   ... 
Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Imported from : European Union   
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

What is there to say? Well, quite a bit, actually, but not about the performance itself. It's still an outstanding rendition of perhaps the great English opera, and a unique historical document. Excellent subsequent performances led by Colin Davis and Richard Hickox (I omit the staggeringly dull Haitink) diminish the achievements of Peter Pears, Claire Watson, and Britten himself not a whit. The remastered recording offers little improvement over the excellently transferred original, though the reduction to two CDs at mid-price offers a boon to consumers, even if it is dumb catalog management (okay, I can see the move to two discs, but you would think that any label owning this legacy would keep it at full price no matter what). Read more />

More to the point, Decca also has dropped the libretto, a scandalously cheap tactic. What could they have been thinking? That the words emerge with such clarity that texts are unnecessary? That's certainly not the case. What makes this even more puzzling is the inclusion of texts and translations in the Decca Legends reissue of Sutherland's first Lucia di Lammermoor, released at the very same time as this Grimes. Evidently English speakers are entitled to understand what is being sung, while foreigners will not be afforded the same courtesy. Isn't it time that Decca got past this sort of provincial stupidity and released product consistently and intelligently packaged for the international market? Or maybe I have it entirely wrong, and what we're really dealing with is an endearing little corporate Freudian slip: perhaps Decca subconsciously feels that Britten's masterpiece doesn't deserve the same care in packaging and presentation as that lavished on Donizetti's. Interesting thought.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Peter Grimes, Op. 33 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Marion Studholme (Soprano), Marcus Norman (Baritone), Peter Pears (Tenor),
John Lanigan (Tenor), Iris Kells (Soprano), Lauris Elms (Mezzo Soprano),
Jean Watson (Alto), James Pease (Bass), David Kelly (Bass),
Owen Brannigan (Bass), Raymond Nilsson (Tenor), Claire Watson (Soprano)
Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944-1945; England 
Date of Recording: 12/1958 

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