Britten: Russian Funeral

This page lists all recordings of Russian Funeral, by Benjamin Britten (1913-76) on CD & download (MP3 & FLAC). Generally, more recent releases are listed first, but with priority given to those that are in stock.

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British Music Collection - Music for Brass

British Music Collection - Music for Brass


Arnold:

Symphony for Brass Instruments Op. 123

Bax:

Fanfare for the Wedding of Princess Elizabeth

Bliss:

Antiphonal Fanfare for Three Brass Choirs

Flourish for two brass orchestras

Fanfare for the Lord Mayor of London

Brian:

Fanfare from 'The Cenci'

Britten:

Fanfare 'The Eagle has Two Heads'

Russian Funeral

Fanfare for St. Edmundsbury for three trumpets

Tippett:

Fanfare for Brass

Walton:

Spitfire Prelude & Fugue


Elgar Howarth, John Iveson, Howard Snell

Philip Jones Brass Ensemble

Presto CD

Decca British Music Collection - 4737142

(Presto CD)

$13.50

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British Music Collection - Benjamin Britten - The Rarities

British Music Collection - Benjamin Britten - The Rarities


Britten:

Canticle II - Abraham & Isaac Op. 51

Gemini Variations Op. 73

A Birthday Hansel, Op. 92

Cantata Academica, Op. 62

Russian Funeral

Cantata Misericordium, Op. 69

Children's Crusade Op. 82

Ekho poeta (The Poet's Echo) Op. 76

Six Hölderlin Fragments, Op. 61

Two Insect Pieces for Oboe and Piano


Presto CD

Decca British Music Collection - 4688112

(Presto CD - 2 discs)

$22.00

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English Brass Music

English Brass Music


Britten:

Russian Funeral

Elgar:

Severn Suite, Op. 87

Holst:

A Moorside Suite

Ireland:

Comedy Overture

A Downland Suite

Tippett:

Festal Brass with Blues

Vaughan Williams:

Henry V Overture

Walton:

The First Shoot


London Collegiate Brass, James Stobart

CRD - CRD2415

(CD - 2 discs)

$14.50

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Brass Surround

Brass Surround


Britten:

Russian Funeral

Chesnokov:

Salvation is Created, Op. 25 No. 5

Gabrieli, G:

Sonata Pian e Forte

Canzon septimi toni No. 2

Grieg:

Funeral March: Rikard Nordraak in memoriam

Morley:

Now is the month of maying

Mouret:

Rondeau

Pachelbel:

Magnificat for brass ensemble

Prokofiev:

March in B flat major Op. 99 'Military March'

The Love for Three Oranges: March

Susato:

Dances from 'La Danseryes': selection


Millar Brass Ensemble, Vincent Cichowicz, Stephen Squires

Delos - DE3171

(CD)

$17.75

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Simon Rattle conducts Britten

Simon Rattle conducts Britten


Britten:

An American Overture

Ballad of Heroes, Op. 14

Robert Tear (tenor)

Diversions for piano (left hand) and orchestra, Op. 21

Peter Donohoe (piano)

The Building of the House Overture

Praise We Great Men

Alison Hargan (soprano), Mary King (contralto), Robert Tear (tenor) & Willard White (bass)

Suite on English Folk Tunes 'A Time there was', Op. 90

Peter Walden (cor anglais)

Canadian Carnival Overture, Op. 19

Wesley Warren (trumpet)

Young Apollo, Op. 16

Peter Donohoe (piano), Felix Kok & Jeremy Ballard (violins), Peter Cole (viola), Michal Kaznowski (cello)

Quatre Chansons Françaises

Jill Gomez (soprano)

Scottish Ballad, Op. 26

Peter Donohoe & Philip Fowke (pianos)

Occasional Overture, Op. 38

Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20

Les illuminations, Op. 18

Berliner Philharmoniker

Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings, Op. 31

Ian Bostridge (tenor) & Radek Baborák (horn)

Berliner Philharmoniker

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

Ian Bostridge (tenor)

Berliner Philharmoniker

War Requiem, Op. 66

Elisabeth Söderström (soprano), Robert Tear (tenor), Sir Thomas Allen (baritone) & Mark Blatchly (chamber organ)

Boys of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, CBSO Chorus & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Russian Funeral


On the face of it one would have thought that there was little in common between Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) and Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), two interesting facts prove otherwise.

Britten, born in Lowestoft in Suffolk on 22nd November (St. Cecilia’s Day), had already and studied with Frank Bridge by the time he went to Gresham’s School in Holt, Norfolk, in September 1928. The Master in charge of music on meeting him remarked “Oh, you’re the boy who likes Stravinsky!” Today that remark might be considered a compliment, at that time Stravinsky was reviled as THAT composer who had perpetrated the outrage called “The Rite of Spring” fifteen years earlier.

The funeral service for Stravinsky, who died on 6th April 1971 in New York, was held as he had requested in Venice nine days later and he was laid to rest near his friend and ballet impresario, Serge Diaghilev, on the Island of San Michele. Britten, too, had a great love for Venice as can be heard in his last opera based on Thomas Mann’s “Death in Venice”.

Both composers are also high on Sir Simon Rattle’s list of favourite composers. In 2003 he and his Berlin Philharmonic gave workshops and a performance of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring to the city’s disadvantaged children and as a past Artistic Director of Britten’s beloved Aldeburgh Festival he has conducted many of his works including a number of those that had been found after the death of the composer.

The box of Stravinsky contains works from all parts of his musical life including six ballets; three major ones from his youth – The Firebird, showing the inspired palette for exotic colour learnt from his teacher, Rimsky-Korsakov, Petrushka (in its revised version of 1947) and The Rite of Spring; two in his Neo-Classical style – Apollo and Pulcinella and extracts from Agon which shows the influence of his studies of serial technique as expounded by Anton Webern. There are also a number of his works that were inspired by jazz.

The box of Britten contains besides the three great song cycles (Les Illuminations, Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings and Nocturne) the “War Requiem”, “Sinfonia da Requiem”, the ever popular “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” and the most remarkable set of songs written in French when he was 15, “Quatre Chansons Françaises”.

EMI Simon Rattle Edition - 2427432

(CD - 5 discs)

$25.50

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Britten: Orchestral Works (Britten Centenary Edition)

Britten: Orchestral Works (Britten Centenary Edition)


Britten:

Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20

Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia from Peter Grimes, Op. 33

The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34

Violin Concerto in D minor Op. 15

Piano Concerto, Op. 13

Young Apollo, Op. 16

Canadian Carnival Overture, Op. 19

Scottish Ballad, Op. 26

Diversions for piano (left hand) and orchestra, Op. 21

Occasional Overture, Op. 38

The Building of the House Overture

An American Overture

Simple Symphony, Op. 4

Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10

Prelude & Fugue for 18 strings, Op. 29

Lachrymae for viola & strings, Op. 48a

Gloriana - Symphonic Suite Op. 53a

Men of Goodwill (Variations on a Christmas Carol for orchestra)

Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 68

Russian Funeral

Matinées musicales (after Rossini), Op. 24

Soirées musicales (after Rossini), Op. 9

Sinfonietta, Op. 1

Suite on English Folk Tunes 'A Time there was', Op. 90

The Tocher (Rossini Suite)

The Prince of the Pagodas, Op. 57


One of the most innovative and imaginative composers of the 20th century, Benjamin Britten was a master of the orchestral genre. This extensive collection charts the development of Britten’s orchestral voice and features some of his greatest works, including the evocative Four Sea Interludes, the powerful and majestic Sinfonia da Requiem, the virtuosic Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra and the brilliantly colourful ballet score The Prince of the Pagodas.

“The disc of music for string orchestra conducted by Iona Brown with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra is an absolute stunner...As a whole this collection this is a valuable asset in its own right, containing as it does readings of many pieces that are otherwise unobtainable. And there are no duds and some real winners among these performances” MusicWeb International, 13th May 2013

EMI - 9781602

(CD - 8 discs)

$36.50

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Britten: The Complete Works for Stage & Screen

Britten: The Complete Works for Stage & Screen


Britten:

Noye's Fludde

Owen Brannigan (Noye), Sheila Rex (Mrs Noye), Trevor Anthony (The Voice of God), David Pinto (Sem), Darien Angadi (Ham), Stephen Alexander (Jaffett), Caroline Clack (Mrs Sem), Marie Thérèse Pinto (Mrs Ham), Eileen O'Donovan (Mrs Jaffett)

English Chamber Orchestra, An East Suffolk Children's Orchestra, Norman Del Mar

The Golden Vanity

Benjamin Britten (piano)

Wandsworth School Boys' Choir, Russell Burgess

Curlew River

Peter Pears (Madwoman), John Shirley-Quirk (Ferryman), Harold Blackburn (Abbot), Bryan Drake (Traveller), Bruce Webb (Voice of Spirit)

English Opera Group, Benjamin Britten

The Burning Fiery Furnace

Peter Pears (Nebuchadnezzar), Bryan Drake (Astrologer), John Shirley-Quirk (Ananias), Robert Tear (Misael), Stafford Dean (Azarias), Peter Leeming (Herald

English Opera Group, Benjamin Britten

The Prodigal Son

Peter Pears (Tempter/Abbot), John Shirley-Quirk (Father), Bryan Drake (Elder), Robert Tear (Younger Son)

English Opera Group, Benjamin Britten

The Little Sweep, Op. 45

David Hemmings (Sam), Jennifer Vyvyan (Rowan), Nancy Thomas (Miss Baggot), April Cantelo (Juliet Brook), Trevor Anthony (Tom/Black Bob), Peter Pears (Clem/Alfred), Michael Ingram (Gay Brook), Marilyn Baker (Sophie Brook), Robin Fairhurst (John Crome), Lyn Vaughan (Hugh Crome), Gabrielle Soskin (Tina Chrome)

Orchestra of the English Opera Group, Alleyn's School Choir, Benjamin Britten

Children's Crusade Op. 82

Benjamin Britten (piano)

Russell Burgess

The Prince of the Pagodas, Op. 57

Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

Plymouth Town – ballet

BBC Symphony Orchestra, Grant Llewellyn

On the Frontier

John Constable, Beverley Davison, Graham Ashton, Chris Lawrence, David Roach, Gregory Knowles

This Way to the Tomb: Boogie-Woogie

John Constable, Beverley Davison, Graham Ashton, Chris Lawrence, David Roach, Gregory Knowles

The Rescue of Penelope Parts 1 and 2

Alison Hagley, Janet Baker, Catherine Wyn Rogers, John Mark Ainsley, William Dazeley

Hallé Orchestra, Kent Nagano

Johnson over Jordan Suite

English Chamber Orchestra

Steuart Bedford

Love from a Stranger

BBC Symphony Orchestra, Jac van Steen

Night Mail

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Martyn Brabbins

The Tocher (Rossini Suite)

Choir of King Edward's Boys' School, Birmingham, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Martyn Brabbins

The King’s Stamp

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Martyn Brabbins

Negroes

Daniel Auchincloss (tenor)

City Of Birmingham Symphony Chorus, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Martyn Brabbins

The Way to The Sea

Simon Russell Beale

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Martyn Brabbins

Telegrams

Choir of King Edward's Boys' School, Birmingham, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Martyn Brabbins

Peace of Britain

Men Behind The Meters

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Martyn Brabbins

Coal Face

Simon Russell Beale

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Martyn Brabbins

When you're feeling like expressing your affection (Auden)

Mary Carewe, Malcolm Wilson

The Company of Heaven

Peter Barkworth, Sheila Allen, Cathryn Pope, Dan Dressen

London Philharmonic Choir, English Chamber Orchestra, Philip Brunelle

The Sword in the Stone

Terence Hanbury White, Walter Goehr

Russian Funeral

Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, John Iveson

Fanfare 'The Eagle has Two Heads'

Philip Jones Brass Ensemble, John Iveson

Gay:

The Beggar's Opera

arr. Britten


Following the monumental 3000-set Limited Edition Complete Works, we are delighted to present four boxed sets which together present Britten’s Complete Works.* In each of the genres represented here, Britten created works which defined and shaped their genres going forward: opera was never the same after Peter Grimes in 1945; War Requiem re-defined the Oratorio genre; Britten’s extraordinary gifts for choosing and setting texts, as well as his life-long artistic relationship with Peter Pears, reshaped the Song Cycle for the late 20th century; while his pioneering works like Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra and works for children to perform showed the world how composers could connect to and educate a wide audience. The sheer range of his creative work, and output, is astonishing.

Each set comes with a detailed article by Andrew Huth, full track listings and recording information. The Complete Works of each genre - conducted by Britten where Britten recorded the work – at an exceptionally-advantageous price. *Includes all works with opus numbers and all works commercially recorded to date. Includes folksongs, excludes Purcell realisations and Hindmarsh’s arrangements of incidental music to King Arthur and World of the Spirit.

Decca - 4785449

(CD - 12 discs)

$59.00

In stock - usually despatched within 1 working day.

Benjamin Britten - The Collector’s Edition

Benjamin Britten - The Collector’s Edition


Britten:

Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Libor Pesek

Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes, Op. 33a

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Libor Pesek

The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Libor Pesek

Canadian Carnival Overture, Op. 19

Wesley Warren (trumpet)

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle

Diversions for piano (left hand) and orchestra, Op. 21

Peter Donohoe (piano)

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle

Scottish Ballad, Op. 26

Peter Donohoe & Philip Fowke (pianos)

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle

An American Overture

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle

Occasional Overture, Op. 38

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle

The Building of the House

CBSO Chorus & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle

Piano Concerto, Op. 13

Leif Ove Andsnes (piano)

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Järvi

Violin Concerto in D minor Op. 15

Ida Haendel (violin)

Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Paavo Berglund

Young Apollo, Op. 16

Peter Donohoe (piano), Felix Kok, Jeremy Ballard (violins), Peter Cole (viola) & Michal Kaznowski (cello)

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle

Simple Symphony, Op. 4

Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Iona Brown

Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge, Op. 10

Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Iona Brown

Prelude & Fugue for 18 strings, Op. 29

Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Iona Brown

Lachrymae for viola & strings, Op. 48a

Lars Anders Tomter (viola)

Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Iona Brown

Gloriana - Symphonic Suite Op. 53a

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Takuo Yuasa

Symphony for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 68

Steven Isserlis (cello)

City of London Sinfonia, Richard Hickox

Men of Goodwill (Variations on a Christmas Carol for orchestra)

Minnesota Orchestra, Sir Neville Marriner

Sinfonietta, Op. 1

Pauline Lowbury & Julian Tear (violins)

Britten Sinfonia, Daniel Harding

Russian Funeral

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle

Suite on English Folk Tunes 'A Time there was', Op. 90

Peter Walden (cor anglais)

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle

Matinées musicales (after Rossini), Op. 24

English Chamber Orchestra, Sir Alexander Gibson

Soirées musicales (after Rossini), Op. 9

English Chamber Orchestra, Sir Alexander Gibson

The Tocher (Rossini Suite)

Boys of the Choir of Paisley & Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Steuart Bedford

The Prince of the Pagodas, Op. 57

London Sinfonietta, Oliver Knussen

Rhapsody for String Quartet

Endellion String Quartet

Quartettino

Endellion String Quartet

String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 25

Endellion String Quartet

Phantasy in F minor for string quintet

Nicholas Logie (viola)

Endellion String Quartet

Elegy for unaccompanied viola

Garfield Jackson (viola)

Phantasy Quartet for Oboe & String Trio, Op. 2

Endellion String Quartet

Three Divertimenti

Endellion String Quartet

String Quartet No. 2 in C major, Op. 36

Endellion String Quartet

String Quartet in D major (1931)

Endellion String Quartet

String Quartet No. 3, Op. 94

Endellion String Quartet

Suites for cello solo, Nos. 1-3

Truls Mørk (cello)

Holiday Diary Op. 5 for solo piano

Stephen Hough, Ronan O’Hara (pianos)

Three Character Pieces

Stephen Hough, Ronan O’Hara (pianos)

Moderato, Nocturne & Twelve Variations on a Theme from Sonatina romantica

Stephen Hough, Ronan O’Hara (pianos)

Five Waltzes for piano

Stephen Hough, Ronan O’Hara (pianos)

Two Lullabies for Two Pianos

Stephen Hough, Ronan O’Hara (pianos)

Introduction and Rondo alla burlesca, op.23 No.1

Stephen Hough, Ronan O’Hara (pianos)

Suite Op. 6

Alexander Barantschik (violin) & John Adey (piano)

Sonata for cello and piano in C major, Op. 65

Moray Welsh (cello) & John Lenehan (piano)

Six Metamorphoses after Ovid for solo oboe, Op. 49

Roy Carter (oboe)

Nocturnal after John Dowland, Op. 70

Julian Bream (guitar)

War Requiem, Op. 66

Elisabeth Söderström (soprano), Robert Tear (tenor), Sir Thomas Allen (baritone) & Mark Blatchly (chamber organ)

Boys of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, CBSO Chorus & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle

Spring Symphony, Op. 44

Sheila Armstrong (soprano), Dame Janet Baker (contralto) & Robert Tear (tenor)

St. Clement Danes School Boys’ Choir, London Symphony Chorus & London Symphony Orchestra, André Previn

Hymn to St Cecilia, Op. 27

Richard Cross (treble)

Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Sir David Willcocks

A Ceremony of Carols, Op. 28

James Clark, Julian Godlee (trebles) & Osian Ellis (harp)

Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Sir David Willcocks

Missa Brevis in D major, Op. 63

Julian Brown, Christopher Anderson, Anthony Sackville, Rory Phillips & James Clark (trebles) & Ian Hare (organ)

Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Sir David Willcocks

Festival Te Deum in E, Op. 32

Simon Channing (treble) & James Lancelot (organ)

Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Sir Philip Ledger

Rejoice in the Lamb, Op. 30

Simon Channing (treble), James Bowman (countertenor), Richard Morton (tenor), Marcus Creed (bass), James Lancelot (organ) & David Corkhill (percussion)

Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Sir Philip Ledger

Te Deum in C

Rory Phillips (treble) & James Lancelot (organ)

Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Sir Philip Ledger

Jubilate Deo in C major (1961)

Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, Sir Philip Ledger

A Hymn to the Virgin

Stephen Barton (treble), Hugh Hudleston (treble), Warren Trevelyan-Jones (tenor) & Francis Pott (bass)

Winchester Cathedral Choir, David Hill

St Nicolas, Op. 42

Words by Eric Crozier

Robert Tear (tenor), Bruce Russell (treble), Andrew Davis & Ian Hare (piano duet

Cambridge Girls’ Choir, Choir of King’s College, Cambridge & Academy of St Martin in the Fields, Sir David Willcocks

Hymn to St. Peter, Op. 56a

Mark Emney, Peter Rowe (trebles) & Timothy Farrell (organ)

Wandsworth School Choir, Russell Burgess

A Hymn of Saint Columba

Mark Emney, Peter Rowe (trebles), Christopher Hughes, Timothy Farrell (organ)

Choir of King’s College, Cambridge & Wandsworth School Choir, Russell Burgess

Sacred and Profane, Op. 91

Vasari Singers, Jeremy Backhouse

The Little Sweep, Op. 45

Words by Eric Crozier

Robert Lloyd, Robert Tear, Sam Monck, Heather Begg, Catherine Benson, Cato Fordham, Catherine Wearing, Mary Wells, David Glick, Colin Huehns & Katherine Willis

Finchley Children’s Music Group, Choral Scholars of King’s College, Cambridge & Medici String Quartet, Sir Philip Ledger

A Boy was Born, Op. 3

London Sinfonietta Chorus & Choristers of St. Paul’s Cathedral, Terry Edwards

A Shepherd's Carol

Sarah Leonard (soprano), Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano), Peter Hall (tenor) & Gordon Jones (baritone)

London Sinfonietta Chorus, Terry Edwards

Noye's Fludde

Richard Pasco, Donald Maxwell, Linda Ormiston, Alexander Gallifant, Timothy Lamb, Nicholas Berry, Catriona Johnson, Polly Hewetson & Joanna Brown

Coull String Quartet & Schools’ Orchestra from schools of Salisbury and Chester, Richard Hickox

A.M.D.G.

London Sinfonietta Chorus, Terry Edwards

The Ballad of Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard (Text: The Oxford Book of Ballads)

Baccholian Singers of London

The Company of Heaven

Peter Barkworth, Sheila Allen (narrators), Cathryn Pope (soprano), Dan Dressen (tenor) & Christopher Herrick (organ)

London Philharmonic Choir & English Chamber Orchestra, Philip Brunelle

Ballad of Heroes, Op. 14

Robert Tear (tenor)

CBSO Chorus & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle

Praise We Great Men

Alison Hargan (soprano), Mary King (contralto), Robert Tear (tenor) & Willard White (bass)

CBSO Chorus & City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle

Les illuminations, Op. 18

Heather Harper (soprano)

Northern Sinfonia Orchestra, Sir Neville Marriner

Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings, Op. 31

Neil Mackie (tenor) & Barry Tuckwell (horn)

Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Steuart Bedford

Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal, for tenor, horn and strings

orch. Colin Matthews

Neil Mackie (tenor) & Barry Tuckwell (horn)

Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Steuart Bedford

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

Robert Tear (tenor)

English Chamber Orchestra, Jeffrey Tate

Quatre Chansons Françaises

Jill Gomez (soprano)

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle

Our Hunting Fathers, Op. 8

Elisabeth Söderström (soprano)

Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera, Richard Armstrong

Four Folksong Settings

Elisabeth Söderström (soprano)

Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera, Richard Armstrong

Phaedra, Op. 93

Felicity Palmer (mezzo-soprano), Jane Salmon (cello) & Melvyn Tan (harpsichord)

Endymion Ensemble, John Whitfield

Five French Folksong arrangements

Felicity Palmer (mezzo-soprano)

Endymion Ensemble, John Whitfield

Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22

Peter Pears (tenor) & Benjamin Britten (piano)

The Holy Sonnets of John Donne, Op. 35

Peter Pears (tenor) & Benjamin Britten (piano)

On this Island, Op. 11

Robert Tear (tenor) & Sir Philip Ledger (piano)

Winter Words, Op. 52

Robert Tear (tenor) & Sir Philip Ledger (piano)

Canticles I-V

Ian Bostridge (tenor), David Daniels (countertenor), Christopher Maltman (baritone), Timothy Brown (horn), Aline Brewer (harp) & Julius Drake (piano)

Folksongs (selection)

Ian Bostridge (tenor), David Daniels (countertenor), Christopher Maltman (baritone), Timothy Brown (horn), Aline Brewer (harp) & Julius Drake (piano)

The Children and Sir Nameless (Hardy)

Neil Mackie (tenor) & Roger Vignoles (piano)

Beware! - Three Early Songs

Neil Mackie (tenor) & Roger Vignoles (piano)

To lie flat on the back with the knees flexed (No. 1 from Fish in the Unruffled Lakes)

Neil Mackie (tenor) & Roger Vignoles (piano)

Three rhymes by William Soutar

Neil Mackie (tenor) & Roger Vignoles (piano)

Tit for Tat

Jonathan Lemalu (bass baritone) & Malcolm Martineau (piano)

Two Ballads for two voices and piano

Felicity Lott (soprano) & Ann Murray (mezzo-soprano)

Folksongs (selection)

Robert Tear (tenor) & Sir Philip Ledger (piano)

Folksongs (selection)

Sarah Brightman (soprano) & Geoffrey Parsons (piano)

Paul Bunyan

Soloists, Chorus & Orchestra of the Plymouth Music Series, Philip Brunelle

Peter Grimes

Recorded: VI.1992, Watford Town Hall

Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Felicity Lott, Thomas Allen, Patricia Payne, Maria Bovino, Gillian Webster, Stuart Kale, Stafford Dean, Sarah Walker, Neil Jenkins, Simon Keenlyside, David Wilson-Johnson

Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, Bernard Haitink

The Turn of the Screw

Recorded: 17–19.I.2002, Maltings Concert Hall, Snape, Suffolk

Ian Bostridge, Joan Rodgers, Julian Leang, Caroline Wise, Jane Henschel, Vivian Tierney

Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Daniel Harding

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Recorded: XI.1990

James Bowman, Lillian Watson, Dexter Fletcher, John Graham-Hall, Henry Herford, Della Jones, Jill Gomez, Norman Bailey, Penelope Walker

Trinity Boys’ Choir, City of London Sinfonia, Richard Hickox

The Rape of Lucretia

Abridged recording of the revised version (1947), Recorded: 16–19.VII. & 19.X.1947, No.1 Studio, Abbey Road, London

Nancy Evans (Lucretia), Peter Pears (Male Chorus), Joan Cross (Female Chorus), Frederick Sharp (Tarquinius), Norman Lumsden (Collatinus), Dennis Dowling (Junius), Margaret Ritchie (Lucia), Flora Nielsen (Bianca)

English Opera Group Chamber Orchestra, Reginald Goodall

Night covers up the rigid land (No. 2 from Fish in the Unruffled Lakes)

Neil Mackie (tenor) & Roger Vignoles (piano)

If it's ever Spring again (Hardy)

Neil Mackie (tenor) & Roger Vignoles (piano)


Benjamin Britten was born on the day of the Patron Saint of Music – St. Cecilia – 22nd November in 1913 in Lowestoft. He showed remarkable skill at composition from his earliest days. In 1924 he met Frank Bridge (1879-1941), a fine composer in his own right, and became his pupil; through him he developed an appreciation of contemporary music with scores by Bartók and the Schönberg school, particulary Berg.

In 1930 he entered the Royal College of Music and developed the pianistic skills which made him such a brilliant interpreter of both his own music and other greats particularly Mozart and Schubert. From these times date the beautiful A Hymn to the Virgin, Quatre Chansons Françaises and the Sinfonietta, his official Op. 1. He visited Vienna in 1934 and saw Wozzeck but family resistance prevented him studying with Berg (who, in any case, died from blood poisoning caused by an insect sting a year later).

He worked for some years in the film unit of the General Post Office where he met W.H. Auden whose poetry inspired the brilliant song cycle Our Hunting Fathers. The experience in the film unit enabled him to develop the expressive immediacy and technical abilities – often using small and unconventional resources – which would assist his composition of operas in the years to come.

In 1939 he decided to follow Auden to America, accompanying him was the tenor Peter Pears (1910-1986) who was to be the inspiration behind so many great operatic roles and song cycles. There he composed the Sinfonia da Requiem, the Michelangelo Sonnets and the First Quartet. His first opera, Paul Bunyan, to an Auden libretto, was also composed there but then withdrawn (it was revived for the Aldeburgh Festival in the year he died).

He started to get the pangs of homesickness especially when he read, by chance, an article by E.M. Forster on the Suffolk poet Crabbe (whose work was to lead to arguably his greatest success) and he returned to England in 1942. He wrote A Ceremony of Carols and Hymn to St. Cecilia (another Auden text) during this year.

For British Opera the date 7th June 1945 will always remain a red-letter day as it heralded the premiere of a masterpiece, Peter Grimes. The triumph not only established Britten as Purcell’s successor as Britain’s greatest music dramatist but its numerous performances abroad showed that Britain had an international composer celebrity.

The Rape of Lucretia was premiered the following year as was the work by which Britten is probably best remembered – certainly by thankful schoolchildren for their guide to the Orchestra. Here he subjects the theme by Purcell to a series of ingenious variations played by each member of the orchestra and then as groups and finally a fugue where everything comes together in a simply unforgettable coda.

Indeed when one examines Britten’s output it is hard not to credit him with at least one work of genius, if not a masterpiece, virtually every year for the rest of his composing life – whether it be an opera, for example The Turn of the Screw in 1954 or A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1960; a choral work, for example Spring Symphony in 1949 or the War Requiem in 1961, a large vocal work, for example Serenade for tenor, horn and strings in 1943, Nocturne in 1958 and Phaedra in 1975; a smaller vocal work, for example the Canticles of 1947, 1952, 1954, 1971 & 1974; the works he wrote for Mstislav Rostropovich – the Cello Sonata in 1961, the Cello Symphony in 1963 and the three Solo Cello Suites in 1964, 1967 & 1971; the two remaining string quartets in 1945 & 1975 and a full length ballet The Prince of the Pagodas in 1956.

Besides setting many classic poets from Britain including Blake, Burns, Coleridge, Donne, Hardy, Keats, Jonson, Milton, Owen, Shakespeare, Shelley, Spenser, Tennyson and Wordsworth he also set texts in French (Hugo, Rimbaud and Verlaine), Italian (Michelangelo), German (Hölderlin) and Russian (Pushkin). He was also partly responsible for the reawakening of interest in the music of his great predecessor, Henry Purcell by making realizations of a large number of his works. He also launched the music festival in his adopted town of Aldeburgh.

EMI Composer Boxes - 2175262

(CD - 37 discs)

$109.50

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