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Benjamin Britten: Albert Herring, Op. 39
Act I Scene 1: Florence!
Act I Scene 1: I hope we’re not too early
Act I Scene 1: Stuffy! Tobacco stink!
Act I Scene 1: Now then! Notebook, Florence!
Act I Scene 1: The first suggestion on my list
Act I Scene 1: Is this all you can bring?
Act I Scene 1: Beggin' your pardon
Act I Scene 1: Right! We’ll have him!
Act I Scene 1: Interlude
Act I Scene 2: Bounce me high, bounce me low
Act I Scene 2: Shop! Hi Albert!
Act I Scene 2: Sid, I’m sorry
Act I Scene 2: Hi Sid! You forgot to pay for the herbs
Act I Scene 2: Good morning, young man
Act I Scene 2: We bring great news to you
Act I Scene 2: Well! Think of that, my lad!
Act II Scene 1: Interlude - Isn’t he here?
Act II Scene 1: For three precious weeks
Act II Scene 1: That’s a fine sight for sore eyes!
Act II Scene 1: Quickly, quickly, come along!
Act II Scene 1: I don’t think you ought
Act II Scene 1: Quick, here they
Act II Scene 1: Hush! Harold Wood!
Act II Scene 1: I’m full of happines
Act II Scene 1: Magnificent, your Ladyship
Act II Scene 1: Fascinating, Mr Mayor
Act II Scene 1: To make our thanks complete
Act II Scene 1: Go on, Albert!
Act II Scene 1: Well tried Albert!
Act II Scene 1: Interlude
Act II Scene 2: Albert the Good
Act II Scene 2: Sounds like Sid serenading
Act II Scene 2: Heaven help those
Act II Scene 2: Albert! Fast asleep, poor kid
Act III Interlude
Act III: Is she asleep?
Act III: What the hell d’you think I am?
Act III: How’s the manhunt?
Act III: Hi! Heard the news?
Act III: Threnody - In the midst of life is death
Act III: Albert?
Act III: I can’t remember everything
Act III: I didn’t lay it on too thick, did I?
“Vivid as Hickox's traversal of the score for Chandos may be, Bedford's is just that much more alert, crisper. With his long experience of Britten in the theatre, dating back to Death in Venice under the composer's aegis, his timing carries unique authority and, in better sound than the old Decca set can now offer, he even has the edge over the composer's obviously definitive reading. Bedford's players are at least as accomplished as Hickox's, and are caught in a more immediate, less reverberant acoustic. As for the singers, in almost every case Bedford's are the equal of, or superior to, Hickox's and several surpass Britten's. For instance, Albert was never one of Peter Pears's happiest assumptions; Christopher Gillett makes a more credible mother's boy and does well when he decides to break loose. Where the crucial role of Lady Billows is concerned, Josephine Barstow's commanding performance may not quite be on a par with Sylvia Fisher for Britten, but the difference is small. Susan Gritton gives us a dotty and cleanly sung Miss Wordsworth (Margaret Ritchie, the role's creator, must have sounded like this), Robert Lloyd is a simpleton of a Budd (as well sung as any), and Felicity Palmer makes a wonderfully fussy Florence Pike. It only remains to laud once again the score's many delights as regards technical mastery and subtle characterisation, and to suggest you hurry off to enjoy a real bargain.”
“Gillett in the title-tole has a clear, youthful-sounding tenor...What secures the set's success is the way that in the ensembles Bedford secures such crispness, wittily lifting rhythms, making the music swagger. At the Naxos reissue price this is a phenomenal bargain”
“Steuart Bedford elicits crisp and witty playing from the Northern Sinfonia, with an outstanding cast headed by Christopher Gillett as a believably youthful Albert and Josephine Barstow suitably gorgon-like as the formidable Lady Billows. Felicity Palmer is on stentorian form as her housekeeper, Gerald Finley is raffish and sensual as Sid, and Susan Gritton's sweetly twittery schoolmistress stands out amongst the village worthies.”
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