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Recorded live at on 10 December 2006 at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall (Double Concerto) and Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall on 23 April 2008 (Variations and Les Illuminations).
The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Principal Conductor Vladimir Jurowski has made a number of previous recordings on the London Philharmonic Orchestra label including Tchaikovsky’s Manfred Symphony and Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 14. His discography also includes the first ever recording of Kancheli’s Exile for ECM (1994) and a series of recordings with the Russian National Orchestra on PentaTone Classics.
On this release Jurowski conducts live recordings of three of Benjamin Britten’s early works. Written just before his published Opus 1, the Double Concerto for Violin and Viola was never performed during Britten’s lifetime, but already demonstrates his mature style. The memorable way that the string orchestra depicts different characteristics of Britten’s composition teacher in the Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge led it to become Britten’s first popular classic. Les Illuminations sets Rimbaud’s poetry in vividly realised musical images, making it the crowning masterpiece of Britten’s early years.
This is a rare recording of the Double Concerto. The piece was only premiered in 1997.
This is Sally Matthews’ first recording solo with orchestra.
Press acclaim from the concerts:
‘Pieter Schoeman and Alexander Zemtsov proved ideal advocates for this ambitious work [Britten’s Double Concerto for Violin and Viola]… Jurowski showed himself adept at mastering the Britten sound-world.’ The Daily Telegraph, December 2006
‘Jurowski led a skilful performance of Bartok’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta.’ The Financial Times, April 2008
Benjamin Britten: Double Concerto (edited C. Matthews)
I. Allegro ma non troppo
II. Rhapsody: Poco lento
III. Allegro scherzando - Tempo primo (Allegro ma non troppo)
Benjamin Britten: Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10
Introduction and Theme
Variation 1: Adagio
Variation 2: March
Variation 3: Romance
Variation 4: Aria Italiana
Variation 5: Bouree Classique
Variation 6: Wiener Waltzer
Variation 7: Moto Perpetuo
Variation 8: Funeral March
Variation 9: Chant
Variation 10: Fugue and Finale
Benjamin Britten: Les illuminations, Op. 18
VII. Being Beauteous
27th February 2009
“The LPO responds marvellously to Vladimir Jurowski, and the depth of tone and fluency in the Variations On a Theme of Frank Bridge are remarkable for a live recording, while soprano Sally Matthews produces lusciously seductive sounds in the Rimbaud settings of Les Illuminations.”
“Britten was an 18-year-old RCM student when he wrote his Double Concerto for violin and viola… Jurowski and his exemplary LPO principals extract every ounce of eloquence and sparky originality from Britten's youthful inspiration. In the Frank Bridge Variations... there are many stimulating touches - and the playing per se is wonderfully secure...”
“The Double Concerto… is far more than an interesting curiosity. Strongly shaped, impassioned and poetic, with warm, clear recorded sound, this is about as good a version as one could hope for.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.