Heather Harper

Soprano

Prices shown exclude VAT. (UK tax is not payable for deliveries to United States.)
See Terms & Conditions for p&p rates.

Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream - incidental music, Op. 61

Mendelssohn: A Midsummer Night's Dream - incidental music, Op. 61

Stereo · Recorded In 1960


Otto Klemperer was very much a man of the theatre. “Here, opera and drama were truly united,” he said of his time at Berlin’s Kroll Theatre, a progressive and influential force in the heady years of the Weimar Republic. He was also a man with a sharp sense of humour: this performance of Mendelssohn’s incidental music to Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream both glows with enchantment and sparkles with wit.

This version contains the new 24-BIT digital remastering used for the Japanese SACD-hybrid version.

25% off Original Jackets

Warner Classics Original Jacket Reissues - 2564640326

(CD)

Normally: $8.00

Special: $6.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Britten: War Requiem, Op. 66

Britten: War Requiem, Op. 66

world premiere recording

recorded live at Coventry Cathedral, May 1962


Heather Harper (soprano), Peter Pears (tenor), Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (baritone)

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Melos Ensemble, Coventry Festival Choir, Boys of Holy Trinity, Leamington and Holy Trinity, Stratford, Meredith Davies (CBSO), Benjamin Britten (Melos)

This performance is the World Premiere of the Britten War Requiem to mark the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral.

Hearing History

‘The first performance created an atmosphere of such intensity that by the end I was completely undone; I did not know where to hide my face,’ Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau wrote in his autobiography of the War Requiem premiere. ‘Dead friends and past suffering arose in my mind.’ Fischer-Dieskau was a somewhat gruff, paternalistic character of whom Britten would grow wary, but he perfectly captured the emotional intensity of the occasion. Nor was he exaggerating: a few days after the first performance on 30 May Britten wrote to a friend about how Peter Pears had to help Fischer-Dieskau from his seat at the concert’s end. By the time of this letter the ripples from the premiere had travelled far and the profound impact of the work was quickly acknowledged in reviews and correspondence. Yet even Britten was caught unawares by the public resonances of the piece and the emotional responses it inspired.

The commissioners gave Britten a remarkably broad brief. ‘The new work they seek could be full length or a substantial 30/40 minutes one: its libretto could be sacred or secular.’ Britten opted for both sacred and secular, which gave him the opportunity to undermine the former with the latter. He had been thinking about such a piece for a few years, telling a friend in January 1957, ‘I am just starting a Mass myself, a rather sad 20th century, European, affair.’ Typically Britten’s big compositions were some years in the making. Usually at least the librettist, story or poems were pinned down early on, but in the case of this sad mass, Britten had not yet established the form it would take. By the time he thought of his bold scheme to juxtapose Owen’s bitter take on Judeo-Christian beliefs and the Old Men of church and state who shrouded themselves in these beliefs as they marched young men off to war, Britten was wracked with the sort of uncertainty that governed all his major works. ‘I go on working at the Coventry piece,’ he told director Basil Coleman in 1961, a month or so before finishing it. ‘Sometimes it seems the best ever, more often the worst – but it is always so with me.’

Extracts from the note by Paul Kildea

“Taken from a BBC recording, this single CD preserves the historic first performance in all its messy glory...[Harper] is at her peak, all gleaming beauty and commanding authority; and Peter Pears and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, both in fine voice, match each other in the kind of singing of which history is made.” Gramophone Magazine, December 2013

Testament - SBT1490

(CD)

$12.75

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Walton: Belshazzar's Feast, Choral Works & Songs

Walton: Belshazzar's Feast, Choral Works & Songs


Walton:

Coronation Te Deum

Salisbury Cathedral Choir, Winchester Cathedral Choir & Chichester Cathedral Choir

Belshazzar's Feast

Benjamin Luxon (baritone)

London Philharmonic Choir & London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Georg Solti

Jubilate Deo

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

Set me as a seal upon thine heart

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

Where does the uttered music go?

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

Missa Brevis

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

The Twelve

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

A Litany 'Drop, drop slow tears'

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

All this time

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

Make we joy now in this fest

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

What cheer?

First release on CD

Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, Simon Preston

A Song for the Lord Mayor's Table

First release on CD

Three Sitwell Songs

First release on CD

Heather Harper (soprano) & Paul Hamburger (piano)


This 2CD set reveals two sides of Walton, the composer of music for the voice. CD1 features the extravagant side of the composer with multiple choirs and a huge orchestra for swaggering performances of the Coronation Te Deum and Belshazzar’s Feast, both with Sir Georg Solti conducting. CD2, with all items released on CD for the first time, features the more intimate side of the composer, with settings of choral miniatures, from the earliest setting (Drop, drop, slow tears of 1917) up to the 1972 Jubilate. Simon Preston’s LP was released on Argo to mark Walton’s 70th birthday. The remainder of the items come from a L’Oiseau-Lyre LP coupling songs by Walton and Machonchy and performed by Heather Harper. A Song for the Lord Mayor’s Table was commissioned by the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths for the first City of London Festival; the texts were chosen by the English dramatist and poet Christopher Hassall and the poems come mostly from 18th-century verse related to London. The collection is rounded off with Walton’s Three Songs to poems by Dame Edith Sitwell date from 1932, all based on the composer’s Façade.

“Solti's Belshazzar's Feast is more symphonic than dramatic but monumentally impressive. Preston directs a useful anthology of short choral works.” BBC Music Magazine, Christmas 2012 ****

“The disc thus gives a panorama of the composer's choral development over five decades … Preston has welded the choir into a most expressive and flexible instrument … The disc does credit to all concerned and will add lustre to the already high standard of Argo recordings in this field.” Gramophone Magazine (CD2: Choral works)

“Decca have done it again, transferring this highly spectacular choral work [Belshazzar’s Feast] with incredible aplomb. The Coronation Te Deum is hardly less impressive, the choral sound richer textured to suit the occasion, and there is a great bass pedal effect near the end. … Solti has come to Belshazzar's Feast, a great British masterpiece, and in his refreshing way has given it a crisp, international look … It is certainly a most distinctive performance, sharply focused and helped by a recording of superb clarity and brilliance … Indeed the range and bite of the sound here is little short of miraculous” Gramophone Magazine (Belshazzar’s Feast, Coronation Te Deum)

“Heather Harper’s singing … is a constant pleasure. Paul Hamburger, a first-rate accompanist who has appeared far too little on records, plays the quite demanding piano parts with great skill and sensitivity” Gramophone Magazine (Songs)

“Georg Solti brings out the tragic elements of Belshazzar's Feast to great effect in this excitingly dramatic recording with Benjamin Luxon as the soloist. This set also includes a stirring account of the Coronation Te Deum with the combined might of the choirs of Salisbury, Winchester and Chichester cathedrals.” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical, July 2014

Australian Eloquence - ELQ4804972

(CD - 2 discs)

$11.75

(Sorry, download not available in your country)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Handel: Theodora, HWV 68

Handel: Theodora, HWV 68


Heather Harper (Theodora), Maureen Forrester (Didimus), Maureen Lehane (Irene), Alexander Young (Septimius), John Lawrenson (Valens), Edgar Fleet (Messenger)

English Chamber Orchestra, Amor Artis Chorale, Johannes Somary

Alto - ALC2005

(CD - 2 discs)

$9.50

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Beethoven: Mass in C & Missa Solemnis

Beethoven: Mass in C & Missa Solemnis


Beethoven:

Mass in C major, Op. 86

Elly Ameling (soprano), Janet Baker (mezzo), Theo Altmeyer (tenor), Marius Rintzler (bass)

New Philharmonia Chorus, New Philharmonia Orchestra

Missa Solemnis in D major, Op. 123

Heather Harper (soprano), Janet Baker (mezzo), Robert Tear (tenor), Hans Sotin (bass)

New Philharmonia Chorus, London Philharmonic Orchestra


“Carlo Maria Giulini draws an almost spiritual glow from the London Philharmonic in a luminous performance of the Missa Solemnis. The Et incarnatus est section is heart-stoppingly spine-tingling, with some melting contributions from the soloists (not least Janet Baker), and there's some full-bodied singing from the chorus, both here and in the accompanying Mass in C (also conducted by Giulini, but with the New Philharmonia Orchestra).” James Longstaffe, Presto Classical

Presto Favourites

Recommended Recording

Building a Library

First Choice - December 2012

Warner Classics Gemini - 5176642

(CD - 2 discs)

$9.25

(also available to download from $12.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'

Mahler: Symphony No. 2 'Resurrection'


Recorded - Kingsway Hall, London, May 1966

“... the new Decca stereo recording has special points of excellence all its own. The most striking thing in the whole performance, for me, is the first movement, in which Solti penetrates to the inner significance of the unusual structure with an insight I have never encountered before. The short movement for contralto is treated sensitiviely. Helen Watts sings beautifully. The vast finale ... usually comes off almost automatically ... Solti builds it up impressively ... chorus, orchestra and soloists leave nothing to be desired ... the stereo recording is one of Decca's best... bringing off perfectly all the different perspectives of the off-stage brass. The early unison calls are certainly "in the far distance"; the marching band music is indeed "scarcely perceptible" and then "getting nearer"; the later fanfares for the four trumpets are electrifyingly "much nearer"; ... we have surely the sound Mahler must have imagined, according to his meticulous indications” Gramophone Magazine

Decca - Originals - 4758501

(CD)

$9.25

(also available to download from $8.25)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Mahler: Symphony No. 8 in E flat major 'Symphony of a Thousand'

Mahler: Symphony No. 8 in E flat major 'Symphony of a Thousand'


“outstanding in every way, extrovert in display but full of dark implications...one of [Solti's] finest Mahler records” Penguin Guide, 2010 ****

“Now at last Mahler's Symphony of a Thousand can be heard on record at something approaching its full, expansive stature. Here is a version from Solti which ... conveys the feeling of a great occasion ... so overwhelming is the build-up of tension” Gramophone Magazine

Presto Greatest Recordings

1970s

Decca - Originals - 4757521

(CD)

$9.25

(also available to download from $8.25)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bruckner: Mass No. 2 in E minor, etc.

Bruckner:

Mass No. 2 in E minor

Mass No. 3 in F minor

Te Deum in C major, WAB 45

Ave Maria (1861), WAB 6

Christus factus est, WAB 11

Locus iste, WAB 23

Os justi meditabitur sapientiam

Virga Jesse floruit


Heather Harper, Anna Reynolds, Robert Tear, Marius Rintzler, Anna Pashley, Birgit Finillä & Don Garrard

John Alldis Choir, English Chamber Orchestra & New Philharmonia Chorus & Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim

EMI Gemini - 5855082

(CD - 2 discs)

$9.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Britten: Peter Grimes

Britten: Peter Grimes


Jon Vickers (Peter Grimes), Heather Harper (Ellen Orford), Norman Bailey (Balstrode), Elizabeth Bainbridge (Auntie), John Dobson (Bob Boles), Forbes Robinson (Swallow), Patricia Payne (Mrs Sedley), Phillip Gelling (Ned Keene), John Lanigan (Horace Adams), John Tomlinson (Hobson), Marilyn Hill Smith (First Niece), Anne Pashley (Second Niece)

The Royal Opera, Colin Davis, production by Elijah Moshinsky

“Colin Davis...proves an inspired interpreter, taut in control as well as warmly expressive, drawing vividly atmospheric playing from the orchestra to supplement the brilliantly effective sets, minimal but wonderfully evocative in their dark picture of the Borough.” Penguin Guide, 2010 ***

DVD Video

Region: 2,3,4,5

Format: NTSC

Warner Classics Warner Vision - 0630169132

(DVD Video)

$15.25

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Bach, J S: St John Passion, BWV245

Bach, J S: St John Passion, BWV245

Sung in English


“Britten characteristically refuses to follow any set tradition, whether Baroque, Victorian or whatever, and, with greater extremes of tempo than is common (often strikingly fast), the result makes one listen afresh...A superb bargain.” Penguin Guide, 2010 ***

Penguin Guide

Rosette Winner

Early Music

Decca - Double Decca - 4438592

(CD - 2 discs)

Normally: $12.50

Special: $9.00

(also available to download from $10.00)

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Page: 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

 Next >>

Copyright © 2002-17 Presto Classical Limited, all rights reserved.