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Britten: Complete Songs Volume 2
The second volume in the highly praised survey of all Britten’s songs for voice and piano. As before, the great song cycles rub shoulders with individual songs, and early works. There are world premier recordings here as well.
Malcolm Martineau has gather together the cream of young British singers, and this second volume will be as eagerly awaited and successful as the first (ONYX4071).
Philip Reid’s excellent booklet notes provide an incisive insight to Britten’s song writing – a form of composition that occupied the composer from his earliest compositions through to his last year.
‘This series promises to be a major addition to the Britten discography.’ Gramophone
“Listening to this music leaves one in no doubt that Britten ranks among the very greatest song composers, blessed with an unerring instinct for matching word to note and the creation of poetic atmosphere, as well as producing some gloriously singable melodic lines.” The Telegraph, 3rd November 2011
“All the singers are supported by Malcolm Martineau's wonderfully characterised accompaniments...Allan Clayton and Elizabeth Atherton give superb accounts of the declamatory Michelangelo Sonnets and the settings of Auden's On This Island respectively, but Nicky Spence seems slightly self-conscious in the Scots dialect of the Soutar songs, and Benedict Nelson doesn't always summon sufficient weight of tone for the Blake cycle.” The Guardian, 24th November 2011 ***
“it is fortuitous that such a range of talented young tenors is on hand...Whoever he is accompanying, pianist Malcolm Martineau is an expert guide. Though other individual recordings may be preferable, this second volume of Britten songs is again greater than the sum of its parts.” Gramophone Magazine, January 2012
“It's good to hear four quite different tenors responding to the song-cycles written for Peter Pears, and recreating each one in a totally distinctive way. Allan Clayton's feisty tenor takes on the Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, his voice both heroic and intimate. Nicky Spence's 'Who are these Children?' is the outstanding performance of this volume: he really sells these wonderful settings of the pacificist poet William Soutar, characterising their compassion.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2012 ****
Onyx - ONYX4079
(CD - 2 discs)
In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.
Songs of Innocence
Sure on this shining night, Op. 13 No. 3
Tell, me lovely shepherd
arr. Elizabeth Poston
Chamber Music V
Little Sir William
Ca’ the yowes
realised by Britten
Silent Worship (based on an aria from Tolomeo)
arr. Maurice Jacobson
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
I wonder as I wander
arr. Benjamin Britten
The Slow Train
arr. Andrew Plant
In the mornin'
spiritual, arr. Ives
Caleno custure me
arr. Andrew Plant
Dirge for Fidele
The bayley berith the bell away
My bed is a boat
Sweet and low
Who is Silvia?
Andrew Swait (treble), James Bowman (counter tenor) & Andrew Plant (piano)
"I was particularly keen to make this CD as I wanted a newer record of my treble voice: it has changed significantly since my previous recordings as a chorister. I also wished to promote items which are not normally associated with the standard treble repertoire. Through my association with Andrew Plant, The Britten-Pears Foundation generously supported the creation of the recording and allowed me the immense privilege of recording unpublished works by Britten, therefore greatly increasing the documental importance of this CD... Mr Bowman's voice had been one of the first I had heard in recordings and live concerts. Later, as a chorister, I was lucky enough to sing with him when he was a soloist in performances of Messiah and the St John Passion.The chance to work with him made the prospect of the disc better than I could have imagined." Andrew Swait
“The voice of experience meets the voice of youth in this album contrasting the voices of Bowman, a countertenor, and Swait, a boy chorister.
Swait's voice is clear, bright and tuned with innate precision, ringing with carefree but studious childhood. Appealingly, he focuses on the mechanics of his singing, maintaining a childish ignorance of the full tragedy of Britten's Little Sir William. Bowman is the uncle, worldly and artistic, duetting with restraint and phrasing with a characteristic elegance and expressivity that Swait duly and sensibly mimics. The pianist Andrew Plant accompanies with sensitivity.” The Times, 12th July 2008 ***
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