Peter Pears

Tenor

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Britten: Peter Grimes

Britten: Peter Grimes


Peter Pears (Grimes), Claire Watson (Ellen Orford), James Pease (Balstrode), Jean Watson (Auntie), Geraint Evans (Ned Keene), Lauris Elms (Mrs Sedley), David Kelly (Hobson), Owen Brannigan (Swallow), Raymond Nilsson (Bob Boles), Marion Studholme, Iris Kells (Nieces)

Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Benjamin Britten

Pear's heart-rending portrayal of Grimes central to a magnificent cast - James Jolly, Gramophone 1000th issue

“This was the first complete recording of a full-scale Britten opera, based on a superb stage production and vividly recorded...More than any other opera recording, this helped launch the fortunes of Britten's operas and remains one of the most exemplary ever made.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2012

“The Decca set, which in 1958 introduced this opera to many listeners, has never been superseded in its refinement or insight. Britten's conducting, lithe and lucid, reveals his work as a complex, ambiguous drama. Peter Pears, in the title-role written for him, brings unsurpassed detail of nuance to Grimes's words while never losing sight of the essential plainness of the man's speech. The rest of the cast form a vivid portrait gallery of characters.
The recording is as live and clear as if it had been made yesterday, and takes the listener right onto the stage. The bustle of activity and sound effects realise nicely Britten's own masterly painting of dramatic foreground and background.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“...a studio has rarely witnessed anything so poignant as [Pears's] singing of the mad scene in the last Act. It is almost unbearably moving...The Covent Garden Orchestra rise superbly to their task and indeed one is left with an impression of the entire cast, of everybody concerned, being inspired by the presence and direction of the composer.” Gramophone Magazine, October 1959

“one of the greatest achievements of the early analogue stereo era. Few opera recordings can claim to be so definitive” Penguin Guide, 2010 edition ****

“The legendary first recording of one of the greatest operas of all time, first released in 1958 and conducted by Britten himself, with Peter Pears unforgettable as Grimes. The magnificent supporting cast includes many fine British singers, and is headed by Claire Watson's warmly maternal Ellen Orford and James Pease's sympathetic Balstrode.” Maurice Millward, Presto Classical, March 2014

GGramophone Magazine

100 Greatest Recordings

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Decca Legends - 4676822

(CD - 2 discs)

$16.75

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Britten: Serenade, Nocturne and Les Illuminations

Britten: Serenade, Nocturne and Les Illuminations


Britten:

Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings, Op. 31

Barry Tuckwell (horn)

Les illuminations, Op. 18

Nocturne, Op. 60 for tenor, obbligato instruments and strings


“Pears, as always, is the ideal interpreter, the composer a most efficient conductor, and the fiendishly difficult obbligato parts are played superbly.” Penguin Guide, 2010 ****

Decca - 4363952

(CD)

$12.50

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Britten: Folksongs (selection), etc.

Britten:

Folksongs (selection)

Gloriana: 2nd Lute Song

A Birthday Hansel, Op. 92

Canticle V: The Death of St. Narcissus, Op. 89

Suite for harp in C major, Op. 83

Sacred and Profane, Op. 91

A Wealden Trio: Christmas Song of the Women

The Sycamore Tree - Sweet was the Song

A Shepherd's Carol


Peter Pears (tenor), Osian Ellis (harp)

Wilbye Consort

While Pears's recording of Britten folk song arrangements with piano is well known, a beautiful recording he made of songs with harp, featuring Osian Ellis, is altogether rarer and exhumed here on CD for the first time. Ellis's Decca recording of the Suite for Harp also makes its first appearance, as does the Wilbye Consort's of Sacred and Profane and other Britten choral works to make up two very well-filled CDs.

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4429448

(CD - 2 discs)

$15.75

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Britten: Favourite Folk Song Arrangements

Britten: Favourite Folk Song Arrangements


The Foggy Foggy Dew

Sally In Our Alley

Tom Bowling

The Lincolnshire Poacher

A Brisk Young Widow

O Waly Waly

Sweet Polly Oliver

Early One Morning

The Bonny Earl O Moray

The Ash Grove

Come You Not From Newcastle

Le Roi S En Vaten Chasse

La Belle Est Au Jardin Damour

The Minstrel Boy

How Sweet The Answer

The Last Rose Of Summer

Avenging And Bright

Oft In The Stilly Night

The Miller Of Dee

Ca The Yowes

The Plough Boy


Peter Pears (tenor)

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4672362

(CD)

$11.25

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Britten: Cello Symphony and Other Works

Britten: Cello Symphony and Other Works


Britten:

Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 68

Mstislav Rostropovich (cello)

New Philharmonia Orchestra

Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20

New Philharmonia Orchestra

Cantata Misericordium, Op. 69

Peter Pears (tenor), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)

English Chamber Orchestra


“The Cello Symphony, written in 1963 as part of a series for the great Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, was the first major sonata-form work written since the Sinfonia. The idea of a struggle between soloist and orchestra, implicit in the traditional concerto, has no part here; it's a conversation between the two. Rostropovich plays with a depth of feeling that has never quite been equalled in other recordings and the playing of the English Chamber Orchestra has great bite. The recording, too, is extraordinarily fine for its years.
From the opening drumbeat the Sinfonia employs a sonata form with dramatic power, although the tone is never fierce or savage; it has an implacable tread and momentum. The central movement, 'Dies irae', however, has a real sense of fury, satirical in its biting comment – the flutter-tongued wind writing rattling its defiance.
The closing 'Requiem aeternam' is a movement of restrained beauty. The New Philharmonia play superbly. The Cantata misericor-dium was written in 1962 as a commission from the Red Cross. It takes the story of the Good Samaritan and is scored for tenor and baritone soloists, chorus, string quartet and orchestra. It's a universal plea for charity and receives a powerful reading. A must for any Britten enthusiast.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

“Landmark performances of three lesser-known works by their dedicatees... The early Sinfonia da Requiem (written when Britten was just 26) is distinguished by the visceral playing of the New Philharmonia. Britten himself conducts dramatic and powerful readings of all three works.” Maurice Millward, Presto Classical, March 2014

Building a Library

First Choice - March 2005

Decca - E4251002

(CD)

$12.50

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The Brandenburg Concertos & 1953 Aldeburgh Festival Opening Concert

The Brandenburg Concertos & 1953 Aldeburgh Festival Opening Concert


anon.:

God Save The Queen

arr. Britten

Arne:

Rule, Britannia (from Alfred)

Now the air shall ring (from The Fairy Prince)

Bach, J S:

Brandenburg Concertos Nos. 1-6 BWV1046-1051 (complete)

Sheep May Safely Graze, from Cantata BWV208

Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV1068: Air ('Air on a G String')

Byrd:

Sellinger's Round

Incl variations by Oldham, Tippett, Berkeley, Britten, Searle & Walton

Clarke, Jeremiah:

Trumpet Voluntary 'Prince of Denmark's March'

Purcell:

O Lord, grant the King a long life, Z38


Alfred Deller (countertenor), Arda Mandikian (soprano), Peter Pears (tenor), Gladys Whitred (soprano)

English Chamber Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, The Aldeburgh Festival Orchestra, Aldeburgh Festival Chorus, London Symphony Chorus, Trumpeters of Kneller Hall Royal Military School of Music, Benjamin Britten, Imogen Holst, Sir Adrian Boult

A unique release filling out Britten's voluble performances of the Brandenburg Concertos with the English Chamber Orchestra with the very rare LP issued by Decca of the 1953 Aldeburgh Festival Opening Concert. It contains the much sought-after Sellinger's Round (Variations on an Elizabethan Theme) conducted by Britten, as well as odes and anthems by Purcell and Arne, featuring Alfred Deller and Sir Peter Pears, conducted by Imogen Holst. The disc ends with four 'bonus tracks' that comprised a Decca EP: Sir Adrian Boult conducting Bach's Air from the Orchestral Suite No. 3 and Bantock's arrangement of 'Sheep may safely graze' plus Britten conducting Clarke's Trumpet Voluntary and his own, very beautiful arrangement of God Save the Queen. A true collector's item!

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4429521

(CD - 2 discs)

$15.75

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Puccini: Turandot

Puccini: Turandot


Joan Sutherland (Turandot), Luciano Pavarotti (Calaf), Montserrat Caballé (Liù), Nicolai Ghiaurov (Timur), Tom Krause (Ping), Pier Francesco Poli (Pang), Piero De Palma (Pong), Peter Pears (L'imperatore Altoum), Sabin Markov (Un mandarino)

John Alldis Choir, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Zubin Mehta

Studio recording, 1978

“Sutherland gives an intensely appealing interpretation, while Pavarotti gives a performance equally imaginitive. Mehta directs a gloriously rich and dramatic performance. Still the best-sounding Turandot on CD.” Penguin Guide

“Turandot is a psychologically complex work fusing appalling sadism with self-sacrificing devotion.
The icy Princess of China has agreed to marry any man of royal blood who can solve three riddles she has posed. If he fails his head will roll.
Calaf, the son of the exiled Tartar king Timur, answers all the questions easily and when Turandot hesitates to accept him, magnanimously offers her a riddle in return – 'What is his name?'.
Liù, Calaf's faithful slave-girl, is tortured but rather than reveal his identity kills herself.
Turandot finally capitulates, announcing that his name is Love. Dame Joan Sutherland's assumption of the title role is statuesque, combining regal poise with a more human warmth, while Montserrat Caballé is a touchingly sympathetic Liù, skilfully steering the character away from any hint of the mawkish. Pavarotti's Calaf is a heroic figure in splendid voice and the chorus is handled with great power, baying for blood at one minute, enraptured with Liù's nobility at the next. Mehta conducts with great passion and a natural feel for Puccini's wonderfully tempestuous drama. Well recorded.”
Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010

Building a Library

First Choice - July 2012

Decca Opera Sets - 4142742

(CD - 2 discs)

$28.75

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Britten: The Rape of Lucretia, and Phaedra

Britten: The Rape of Lucretia, and Phaedra


Britten:

The Rape of Lucretia

Janet Baker (Lucretia), Peter Pears (Male Chorus), Heather Harper (Female Chorus), Benjamin Luxon (Tarquinius), Bryan Drake (Junius), John Shirley-Quirk (Collatinus), Elizabeth Bainbridge (Bianca), Jenny Hill (Lucia)

English Chamber Orchestra, Benjamin Britten

Phaedra, Op. 93

Janet Baker

English Chamber Orchestra, Steuart Bedford


“two outstanding performances by Dame Janet Baker, recorded at the peak of her career...Luxon makes the selfish Tarquinius into a living character...The seductive beauty of the writing - Britten then at his early peak - is caught splendidly” Penguin Guide, 2010 edition ***

Decca Opera Sets - 4256662

(CD - 2 discs)

$38.50

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50 Remembrance Day Classics (By Classic FM)

50 Remembrance Day Classics (By Classic FM)


Various Artists, Ian Le Grice (Organ), Vladimir Ashkenazy (Piano), Elin Manahan Thomas (Soprano), Sarah Walker (Mezzo-Soprano), Sir Peter Pears (Tenor), Benjamin Britten (Piano), Ann Atkinson (Musical Director), Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (), Ivor Emmanuel (), Rhos Male Voice Choir (), Richard Farnes (Organ), Julian Lloyd Webber (Cello), John Birch (Organ), John Zirbel (Horn), Thomas Rose (Treble), Christopher Hughes (Organ), Lorraine McAslan (Violin), John Blakely (Piano), Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chorus (Chorus), John Iveson (Director), Peter Masseurs (Trumpet), Eriko Sato (Violin), Edward Brewer (Organ), Emil Gilels (Piano), Joanna Koslowska (Soprano), Bruce Blyth (Treble), Simon Preston (Organ), Gareth Morrell (), Wilma Lipp (Soprano), Wolfgang Meyer (Organ)

Rundfunkchor Leipzig, Staatskapelle Dresden, The Choir of the Temple Church, The Holst Singers, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestra Of The Age Of Enlightenment, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Choir, Fron Male Voice Choir, The Czech Film , Sir Colin Davis, Stephen Layton, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Harry Christophers, Roger Norrington, Cliff Masterson, Philip Sheppard, Stephen Cleobury, George Guest, Frederick Fennell, Peter Schreier, Sir Neville Marriner, Sir David Willcocks, Charles Dutoit, Garet

Released or re-released in last 6 months

Classic FM 50 - 4808523

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Britten War Requiem - 2013 HD Remaster on CD & Blu-ray Audio

Britten War Requiem - 2013 HD Remaster on CD & Blu-ray Audio

Iconic 1963 recording remastered at 24-bit from original tapes, plus special bonus ‘rehearsal’ CD


Britten:

War Requiem, Op. 66


2CD + 1BLURAY AUDIO

Over half a century has passed since this classic DECCA recording was made in Kingsway Hall, London in January 1963. While the performance remains a benchmark, time has left the original analogue master tapes more fragile than ever. For this Britten centenary edition, DECCA has gone back to the original tapes and used the latest techniques and extensive comparison with the earliest LP pressings and subsequent remasterings, to make a definitive transfer. For the first time ever, all audio processing has been achieved in the 96 kHz 24-bit domain. The new blu-ray disc format, in particular, affords an unprecedented opportunity to hear the recording at this resolution.

The definitive audio version of Britten’s iconic masterpiece, presented with original artwork in an innovative new package. Newly remastered from the original tapes, War Requiem is offered on a single 81-minute CD. But excitingly, it is additionally offered herewith in a Blu-Ray Audio fomat, which permits the recording to be heard at 24-bit.

Enthusiasts will be further delighted to have published here a CD featuring Britten in rehearsal at the sessions in January 1963. Producer John Culshaw wired up the Kingsway Hall with microphones and later presented a Limited Edition of 1 copy to Benjamin Britten on the occasion of his 50th Birthday. For musicians, choral singers, would-be conductors and those interested in Britten the musician, this offers exceptional insights into what made him such an outstanding director of music.

The accompanying booklet offers full sung texts and a new essay on War Requiem by film maker Christopher Palmer, while Britten scholar Donald Mitchell tells the story of how Decca came to record Britten in rehearsal. Photographs from the Britten archive, session photographs and more besides are included in the generous 76-pager, making this truly a definitive presentation of the ultimate reference recording of this masterpiece.

Decca - 4785433

(CD - 2 discs)

$36.75

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