Peter Pears

Biography

Born: June 22, 1910; Farnham, England   Died: April 3, 1986; Aldeburgh, England  
Peter Pears, for many years, embodied British vocal music, both opera and song. Benjamin Britten wrote 14 operas and over 50 songs and song cycles for him, and he appeared in the premieres of many other major English works. He was one of the three founders of the Aldeburgh Festival, and he and Britten established the Britten/Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies, where he directed the various singing programs until his death.

Given
Read more these impressive credentials and influence, it is rather surprising that as a singer he had distinct limitations. While he was capable of excellent singing, his voice was not especially beautiful, with a rather reedy tone, and at times also with a pronounced wobble. However, his musical intelligence, elegant phrasing, and expressive use of text and the vocal line were to create his place in music history.

His first musical career plan was to be an organist, and he studied that at the Hertford College of Oxford, but he later enrolled at the Royal College of Music in London, where he remained from 1933 to 1935 as an "Operatic Exhibitioner." He then pursued studies with Elena Gerhardt and Dawson Freer. He began his professional singing career as a member of the BBC Singers in 1934, and it was through that group that he and Britten first met.

His first recital with Britten was in 1937 at Balliol, followed by a tour of the United States and Europe performing chamber music, including material written by Britten. When they returned, they performed his Michelangelo Sonnets at Wigmore Hall. His operatic debut was as Hoffmann in Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann at the Strand Theater in London in 1942; he joined the Sadler's Wells Opera Company in 1943, singing lyric tenor leads. Britten had begun to write the role of Peter Grimes for him, with funding from the Koussevitsky Foundation, and the opera had its world premiere in 1945 at the Sadler's Wells. Thereafter, while he still appeared in other composer's works, he and Britten were an established musical team, and the next decades saw the appearances of many more operas written for Pears. In 1946, he created the role of the Male Chorus in The Rape of Lucretia, the title role of Albert Herring in 1947, Captain Vere in Billy Budd in 1951, Essex in Gloriana in 1963, Peter Quint in The Turn of the Screw in 1954, Flute in A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1960, and Aschenbach in Death in Venice in 1973. He also created the role of Pandarus in Walton's Troilus and Cressida. In the song repertoire, he premiered Berkeley's Stabat Mater, Tippett's A Child of Our Time and Boyhood's End, as well as Britten's Michelangelo Sonnets, Donne Sonnets, and Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings, to name just the most famous. He was a noted student of early music, frequently performing English lute songs in his recitals, and he and Britten published editions of several songs by Purcell.

While most strongly associated with English music and English venues, he was also a noted soloist at the Holland Festival and the Salzburg Festival.

Pears and Britten were necessarily discreet about the intimate nature of their relationship, but in music history, their lifelong partnership and love affair is one of the most productive and influential, perhaps surpassed only by that of Robert and Clara Schumann. They are buried next to one another in Aldeburgh. Read less
Browse 76-100 of 140 Available Recordings
1 2 3 4 5 6
  • 76.
    Elizabethan Lute Songs / Pears, Bream
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 444524 Release Date: 12/10/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Ford,  Thomas Morley,  Philip Rosseter,  John Dowland
    Performer:  Julian Bream,  Peter Pears
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 77.
    Schütz: Matthäus-passion
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 436221 Release Date: 10/31/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Heinrich Schütz
    Performer:  Derek McCulloch,  Peter Pears,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Terry Edwards  ... 
    Conductor:  Roger Norrington
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Heinrich Schütz Choir
    ArkivCD $16.99
    In Stock
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

  • 78.
    Legendary British Performers / Various
    Label: Emi Classics   Catalog: 88461 Release Date: 04/24/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Felix Mendelssohn,  Enrique Granados,  Camille Saint-Saëns,  Henry Purcell  ... 
    Performer:  Jacqueline Du Pré,  Iris Du Pré,  Mark Deller,  Alfred Deller  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hallé Orchestra,  Melos Ensemble London
    Recommendation
    On sale! $26.99
    DVD: $19.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $26.99   DVD:  $19.99 Add DVD to Cart

  • 79.
    Anthology Of The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Vol 4 1970-80
    Label: Rco Live   Catalog: 6004 Release Date: 04/10/2007   Number of Discs: 14
    Composer:  André Caplet,  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Anton Bruckner,  Maarten Bon  ... 
    Performer:  Jean Decroos,  Maurice André,  Vera Badings,  Werner Herbers  ... 
    Conductor:  Jean Fournet,  Nikolaus Harnoncourt,  Carlo Maria Giulini,  Bernard Haitink  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  Marinus Choir,  NCRV Vocal Ensemble  ... 
    Recommendation
    On sale! $246.98
    CD: $189.99
    Back Order
    On sale!   $246.98   CD:  $189.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 80.
    Stravinsky: Oedipus Rex / Solti, Pears, Meyer, Davies
    Label: London/Decca Enterprise   Catalog: 430001 Release Date: 04/09/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
    Performer:  Benjamin Luxon,  Stafford Dean,  Donald McIntyre,  Alec McGowan  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Georg Solti
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  John Alldis Choir
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Low Stock
    MP3 Available
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

    MP3:  $11.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 81.
    Heavenly Love, Earthly Joy / Bream, Pears
    Label: Rca   Catalog: 704927 Release Date: 01/16/2007   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Thomas Morley,  Philip Rosseter,  John Dowland,  Thomas Ford
    Performer:  Julian Bream,  Peter Pears
    Recommendation
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 82.
    Originals - Britten: Peter Grimes / Benjamin Britten, Peter Pears
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000747802 Release Date: 10/10/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Iris Kells,  Claire Watson,  Jean Watson,  Raymond Nilsson  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus
    Recommendation
    CD: $23.99
    Low Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $23.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $19.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 83.
    Igor Stravinsky Conducts His Own Works - Apollo, Etc
    Label: Music & Arts Programs Of America   Catalog: 1184 Release Date: 05/30/2006   Number of Discs: 3
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky
    Performer:  Helmut Krebs,  Heinz Rehfuss,  Werner Hessenland,  Peter Pears  ... 
    Conductor:  Igor Stravinsky
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra,  Northwest German Radio Chorus,  Baden-Baden Southwest German Radio Wind Quintet
    Recommendation
    CD: $29.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $29.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $19.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 84.
    Britten: Serenade, Les Illuminations, Nocturne / Pears, Brain, Britten
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4768470 Release Date: 05/23/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Peter Pears,  Dennis Brain,  Willie Anthony Waters,  Osian Ellis  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Eugene Goossens,  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  New Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
    CD: $13.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $13.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 85.
    Britten: Song Cycles / Bowman, Pears, Shirley-Quirk, Britten
    Label: Eloquence   Catalog: 4768492 Release Date: 05/23/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Henry Purcell,  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  James Bowman,  Benjamin Britten,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Peter Pears
    Recommendation
    Import CD
    $12.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $12.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 86.
    Britten Conducts Britten Vol 3
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000639602 Release Date: 05/16/2006   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Bryan Drake,  John Shirley-Quirk,  Robert Tear,  Peter Pears  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten,  George Malcolm,  Norman Del Mar,  Russell Burgess
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Opera Group Orchestra,  English Chamber Group,  Alleyn's School Choir  ... 
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $59.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 87.
    Britten: War Requiem / Britten, London Symphony
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000638902 Release Date: 05/16/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Peter Pears,  Simon Preston,  Galina Vishnevskaya,  Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Chorus,  London Symphony Orchestra,  Highgate School Chorus  ... 
    CD: $22.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $22.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $19.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 88.
    Holnd Fstvl - A Dutch Miracle - Fifty Years - 1947-1997
    Label: Globe   Catalog: 6900 Release Date: 05/09/2006   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Rudolf Escher,  Richard Strauss,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Renato Capecchi,  Teresa Berganza,  Giulietta Simionato,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  George Szell,  Jean Fournet,  Kiril Kondrashin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hague Residentie Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Danzi Woodwind Quintet  ... 
    On sale! $59.98
    CD: $49.99
    In Stock
    On sale!   $59.98   CD:  $49.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 89.
    Mozart: Concertos & Arias / Gulda, Szeryng, Et Al
    Label: Hänssler Classic   Catalog: 93129 Release Date: 05/09/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Performer:  Friedrich Gulda,  Henryk Szeryng,  Dennis Brain,  Suzanne Danco  ... 
    Conductor:  Hans Rosbaud
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Southwest German Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Recommendation
    CD: $29.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    CD:  $29.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $19.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 90.
    Ariadne - Bach: Mass In B Minor / Enescu, Bbc Chorus, Et Al
    Label: Somm   Catalog: 5000 Release Date: 04/25/2006   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Johann Sebastian Bach
    Performer:  Norman Walker,  Douglas [French Horn] Moore,  Maurice Clare,  Charles Spinks  ... 
    Conductor:  George Enescu,  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Reginald Jacques
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Chorus,  Boyd Neel Orchestra,  New Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $38.98
    CD: $34.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    On sale!   $38.98   CD:  $34.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $19.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 91.
    Kathleen Ferrier And Friends - Handel, Bach, Et Al
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 229 Release Date: 02/21/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  George Frideric Handel,  Felix Mendelssohn,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Johann Sebastian Bach  ... 
    Performer:  Kathleen Ferrier,  George Roth,  John Francis,  Millicent Silver  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Malcolm Sargent,  Boyd Neel,  Bruno Walter,  Sir John Barbirolli
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  Boyd Neel Orchestra,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra  ... 
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 92.
    The Age Of Gold
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 227 Release Date: 07/26/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Frank Martin,  Michael Tippett,  Paul Hindemith,  Ludwig van Beethoven  ... 
    Performer:  Benjamin Britten,  Peter Pears,  Noel Mewton-Wood,  Dennis Brain
    CD: $17.99
    Back Order
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 93.
    Anthology Of The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Vol 3 1960-70
    Label: Rco Live   Catalog: 5001 Release Date: 07/12/2005   Number of Discs: 15
    Composer:  Frank Martin,  Witold Lutoslawski,  Sergei Prokofiev,  Igor Stravinsky  ... 
    Performer:  André Vessieres,  Heinz Holliger,  Ursula Holliger,  Halina Lukomska  ... 
    Conductor:  Bernard Haitink,  Eugen Jochum,  Hans Werner Henze,  Edo De Waart  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,  NCRV Vocal Ensemble,  Netherlands Radio Chorus members  ... 
    On sale! $246.98
    CD: $189.99
    Back Order
    On sale!   $246.98   CD:  $189.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 94.
    Gay/Britten: The Beggar's Opera / Britten, Pears, Et Al
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 225 Release Date: 04/26/2005   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  John Gay
    Performer:  Norman Platt,  Otakar Kraus,  Rose Hill,  Jennifer Vyvyan  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Opera Group Orchestra
    Import CD: $21.99
    2-3 Days
    Import CD:  $21.99 Add to Cart

  • 95.
    Britten Conducts Britten Operas Vol 2
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000410202 Release Date: 03/15/2005   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Elizabeth Harwood,  Dame Janet Baker,  Philip Langridge,  John Shirley-Quirk  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Charles Mackerras,  Benjamin Britten,  Steuart Bedford
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  English Chamber Orchestra,  Welsh National Opera Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $79.98
    CD: $75.49
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    On sale!   $79.98   CD:  $75.49 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $59.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 96.
    Facets Of Benjamin Britten
    Label: Pearl   Catalog: 220 Release Date: 10/19/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Benjamin Britten,  Peter Pears
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Amadeus String Quartet
    CD: $17.99
    In Stock
    CD:  $17.99 Add CD to Cart

  • 97.
    Britten Conducts Britten Operas Vol 1
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000321302 Release Date: 10/12/2004   Number of Discs: 8
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  James Pease,  Raymond Nilsson,  David [bass baritone] Kelly,  Lauris Elms  ... 
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Chorus,  Royal Opera House Covent Garden Orchestra,  London Symphony Orchestra  ... 
    On sale! $63.98
    CD: $59.99
    In Stock
    MP3 Available
    On sale!   $63.98   CD:  $59.99 Add CD to Cart

    MP3:  $47.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 98.
    Puccini: Bohčme, Madama Butterfly, Tosca, Turandot/Pavarotti
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 000334802 Release Date: 10/12/2004   Number of Discs: 9
    Composer:  Giacomo Puccini
    Performer:  Elizabeth Harwood,  Luciano Pavarotti,  Gianni Maffeo,  Rolando Panerai  ... 
    Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan,  Nicola Rescigno,  Zubin Mehta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Deutsche Oper Chorus,  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Schöneberg Boys Choir  ... 
    Recommendation
    CD not available
    MP3 Available
    MP3:  $53.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 99.
    Britten: Saint Nicolas, Op 42 / Britten, Pears
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 4756156 Release Date: 09/14/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Peter Pears,  David Hemmings
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Aldeburgh Festival Orchestra,  Aldeburgh Festival Chorus
    Recommendation
    ArkivCD $16.99
    Special Order
    MP3 Available
    ArkivCD:  $16.99 Add to Cart

    MP3:  $9.99 Add MP3 to Cart

  • 100.
    Benjamin Britten In Rehearsal & Performance
    Label: Video Artists International   Catalog: 4277 Release Date: 08/31/2004   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Benjamin Britten
    Performer:  Peter Pears
    Conductor:  Benjamin Britten
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  C. B. C. Vancouver Chamber Orchestra
    DVD: $23.99
    Low Stock
    DVD:  $23.99 Add DVD to Cart

1 2 3 4 5 6