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British Composers - Rattle Conducts Britten


Release Date: 08/01/2000 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 73983   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Robert TearPeter DonohoePeter [English Horn] WaldenWesley Warren,   ... 
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony OrchestraCity of Birmingham Choir
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 36 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


This marvelous collection (a reissue of a set released in 1991, compiled from earlier recordings) reaffirms Benjamin Britten as one of the great composers of the 20th century. Britten's popular reputation rests on a handful of works, mainly The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Sinfonia da Requiem, the War Requiem, A Ceremony of Carols, the Serenade for Tenor, Horn, & Strings, and Peter Grimes. But there's so much more to be discovered, particularly from the early years of his career. At just age 18, Britten composed the masterly Four French Songs (beautifully sung by Jill Gomez), a work that revealed an astonishing musical sophistication and maturity. Then there are the bright and lively
Read more works like Canadian Carnival (incorporating the song Alouette), American Overture, and Occasional Overture all displaying his mastery of the orchestral medium. Britten was no slouch as a pianist either, made clear by the brilliant writing in the Diversions for piano left hand (powerfully rendered by Peter Donohoe), as well as the Scottish Ballad (again with Donohoe, and the equally expert Phillip Fowke).


Britten's choral skills are represented here by the stirring Ballad of Heroes and by the brief, sparse Praise We Great Men, an unsettling work from Britten's last period. The mighty Sinfonia da Requiem is saved for last, a fitting end to a fine program. Throughout, Simon Rattle and the City of Birmingham Symphony provide colorful, intense, winning performances, as do the CBSO Chorus and soloists. Whether as an introduction to the music of Britten, or as a supplement to a current collection, this well-recorded set is indispensable.
--Victor Carr, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Ballad of Heroes, Op. 14 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Robert Tear (Tenor)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; England 
Date of Recording: 1984-90 
2. Diversions for Piano left hand and Orchestra, Op. 21 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Peter Donohoe (Piano)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940/1954; England 
Date of Recording: 1984-90 
3. Building of the House Overture, Op. 79 by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1967; England 
Date of Recording: 1984-90 
4. Suite on English Folk Tunes, Op. 90 "A Time There Was" by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Peter [English Horn] Walden (English Horn)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966-1975; England 
Date of Recording: 1984-90 
5. Canadian Carnival, Op. 19 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Wesley Warren (Trumpet)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; England 
Date of Recording: 1984-90 
6. Young Apollo, Op. 16 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Peter Cole (Viola), Felix Kok (Violin), Michal Kaznowski (Cello),
Jeremy Ballard (Violin), Peter Donohoe (Piano)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; England 
Date of Recording: 1984-90 
7. Chansons françaises (4) by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Jill Gomez (Soprano)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; England 
Date of Recording: 1984-90 
8. Scottish Ballad for 2 Pianos and Orchestra, Op. 26 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Philip Fowke (Piano), Peter Donohoe (Piano)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; England 
Date of Recording: 1984-90 
9. Occasional Overture in C major, Op. 38 by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1946; England 
Date of Recording: 1984-90 
10. Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20 by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; England 
11. Praise we great men by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Mary King (Alto), Robert Tear (Tenor), Willard White (Bass),
Alison Hargan (Soprano)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra,  City of Birmingham Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1976; England 
Date of Recording: 1984-90 
12. An American Overture, Op. 27 by Benjamin Britten
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; England 
Date of Recording: 1984-90 

Sound Samples

An American Overture Op. 27
Ballad of Heroes Op. 14: 1. Funeral March -
Ballad of Heroes Op. 14: 2. Scherzo (Dance of Death)
Ballad of Heroes Op. 14: 3. Recitative and Choral - Epilogue (Funeral March)
Diversions for piano (left hand) and orchestra Op. 21: Theme -
Diversions for piano (left hand) and orchestra Op. 21: Var.I Recitative -
Diversions for piano (left hand) and orchestra Op. 21: Var.II Romance -
Diversions for piano (left hand) and orchestra Op. 21: Var.III March -
Diversions for piano (left hand) and orchestra Op. 21: Var.IV Arabesque
Diversions for piano (left hand) and orchestra Op. 21: Var.V Chant -
Diversions for piano (left hand) and orchestra Op. 21: Var.VI Nocturne -
Diversions for piano (left hand) and orchestra Op. 21: Var.VII Badinerie
Diversions for piano (left hand) and orchestra Op. 21: Var.VIII Burlesque
Diversions for piano (left hand) and orchestra Op. 21: Var.IX Toccata I - Toccata II -
Diversions for piano (left hand) and orchestra Op. 21: Var.X Adagio
Diversions for piano (left hand) and orchestra Op. 21: Var.XI Tarantella
The Building of the House - Overture Op. 79
Praise We Great Men (1976): 'Praise we great men' -
Praise We Great Men (1976): 'Praise we the just'
Praise We Great Men (1976): [Coda]
Suite on English Folk Tunes: 'A time there was...' Op. 90: I. Cakes and Ale
Suite on English Folk Tunes: 'A time there was...' Op. 90: II. The Bitter Withy
Suite on English Folk Tunes: 'A time there was...' Op. 90: III. Hankin Booby
Suite on English Folk Tunes: 'A time there was...' Op. 90: IV. Hunt the Squirrel
Suite on English Folk Tunes: 'A time there was...' Op. 90: V. Lord Melbourne
Canadian Carnival Op. 19
Young Apollo Op. 16
Quatre Chansons franaises (1928): 1. Nuits de juin (wds. Victor Hugo)
Quatre Chansons franaises (1928): 2. Sagesse (wds. Paul Verlaine)
Quatre Chansons franaises (1928): 3. L'Enfance (wds. Victor Hugo)
Quatre Chansons franaises (1928): 4. Chanson d'automne (wds. Paul Verlaine)
Scottish Ballad Op. 26
Occasional Overture Op. 38
Sinfonia da Requiem Op. 20: I. Lacrymosa (Andante ben misurato) -
Sinfonia da Requiem Op. 20: II. Dies irae (Allegro con fuoco) -
Sinfonia da Requiem Op. 20: III. Requiem aeternam (Andante molto tranquillo)

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