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Britten: The Canticles / Ben Johnson, James Baillieu

Britten / Johnson / Baillieu
Release Date: 03/26/2013 
Label:  Signum U.k.   Catalog #: 317  
Composer:  Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Ben JohnsonJames BaillieuChristopher AinslieMartin Owen,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

"... a superb collection containing some of the most intensely beautiful of all Britten's vocal writing" The Guardian, February 2013 ****

"... Released as part of the celebration of Britten’s centenary, this CD comes highly recommended." The Northern Echo, February 2013

As part of the celebration Britten's Centenary in 2013, this new recording presents Britten's five Canticles, performed by tenor Ben Johnson with James Baillieu accompanying.

Johnson describes his attraction to these works in his self-penned notes for the disc: "Each is deep with meaning or subversion, a trademark of Britten’s music to a modern audience. They are song, opera, cantata and chamber music, and
Read more so they correspond with the most delicate of intimacy and to the most effective of grand gesture … In his biography of Britten, Humphrey Carpenter points out the close links between the Canticles and Britten’s operas. This answers in part their difference from the ‘usual’ song repertoire: their religious flavour (a stronger taste in some than others) mixed with the circumstances of their composition make for a unique strand in Britten’s output."

Ben Johnson has quickly established himself as one of the most exciting tenors of his generation. Winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Awards in 2008, he was also a prizewinner at the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition and the Gerald Moore Awards (singer’s prize). Currently studying with Jeffrey Talbot, he is a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist 2010-2012. Ben Johnson is currently an ENO Harewood Artist and a Wigmore Hall Emerging Talent. His recent opera engagements include Nemorino, 'The Elixir of Love', for English National Opera, Don Ottavio, 'Don Giovanni' for Opéra National de Bordeaux, Novice in Michael Grandage’s new production of 'Billy Budd' at Glyndebourne Festival Opera and productions for Scottish Opera and the Classical Opera Company. In recital he works regularly with Graham Johnson. They have recorded songs by Poulenc for Hyperion records and Britten Songs for Onyx [Onyx4071]. He also works with Roger Vignoles, Malcolm Martineau and James Baillieu.

Highlights in 2012/13 season include Don Ottavio and Alfredo, 'La Traviata' at the English National Opera, he will also return to Glyndebourne Festival Opera in future seasons. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Canticle I, Op. 40 "My beloved is mine" by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Ben Johnson (Tenor), James Baillieu (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; England 
2.
Canticle II, Op. 51 "Abraham and Isaac" by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  James Baillieu (Piano), Ben Johnson (Tenor), Christopher Ainslie (Countertenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; England 
3.
Canticle III, Op. 55 "Still Falls the Rain" by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  James Baillieu (Piano), Ben Johnson (Tenor), Martin Owen (Horn)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1954; England 
4.
Canticle IV, Op. 86 "The Journey of the Magi" by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Christopher Ainslie (Countertenor), Ben Johnson (Tenor), James Baillieu (Piano),
Benedict Nelson (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1971; England 
5.
Canticle V, Op. 89 "The Death of St Narcissus" by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Ben Johnson (Tenor), Lucy Wakeford (Harp)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1974; England 

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