Author Topic: Benjamin Britten  (Read 69188 times)

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Boris_G

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Benjamin Britten
« on: July 12, 2007, 09:14:21 PM »
It's about time he had his own thread, apart from the one devoted to his operas. I grew up with Britten's music, and have an enduring love for a lot of it. One work I'm very fond of is his ballet Prince of the Pagodas - several miracles of orchestration, and one movement in particular has been haunting me: Belle Rose's Variation in the Pas de deux of the final Act. Though Oliver Knussen did a complete recording, Britten's own recording of the slightly abridged work still hits the spot more effectively for me: I wish Decca would re-release it since I foolishly never bought it on CD.

Offline Holden

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2007, 11:10:23 PM »
It's about time he had his own thread, apart from the one devoted to his operas. I grew up with Britten's music, and have an enduring love for a lot of it. One work I'm very fond of is his ballet Prince of the Pagodas - several miracles of orchestration, and one movement in particular has been haunting me: Belle Rose's Variation in the Pas de deux of the final Act. Though Oliver Knussen did a complete recording, Britten's own recording of the slightly abridged work still hits the spot more effectively for me: I wish Decca would re-release it since I foolishly never bought it on CD.

I had the good fortune to perform "Rejoice in the Lamb" as part of the choir in my university (College) days. Loved the work!
Cheers

Holden

karlhenning

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2007, 08:16:58 AM »
The Sinfonia da requiem is a terrific concert-piece! Who knows? -- Greta may find she likes it nearly as well as The Planets?   8)

tjguitar

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2007, 05:37:09 PM »
The Sinfonia da requiem is a terrific concert-piece! Who knows? -- Greta may find she likes it nearly as well as The Planets?   8)

The Four Sea Interludes are very good as well!

Boris_G

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2007, 12:49:40 AM »
The Sinfonia da requiem is a terrific concert-piece! Who knows? -- Greta may find she likes it nearly as well as The Planets?   8)

Very different from The Planets (even 'Mars', which comes closest to Sinfonia da requiem, is 'propelled' by different means), though both works in their different ways show a total mastery of orchestration. I particularly like the strange, silvery-lead colours Britten creates with the combination of strings, woodwind and piano in the first section.

Offline Susan de Visne

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2007, 09:26:41 AM »
Britten's my favourite composer, but I don't think he would be if all I'd heard was the Sinfonia da Requiem or the Piano Concerto. I think he was primarily a vocal composer, and just about all his vocal music, for soloists or choirs or whole operas, is very exciting to explore. The more you listen, the more you hear.

(Just for entertainment, I put this through the Spell Checker. It suggested I should change Sinfonia to Sniffing.)

Robert

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2007, 09:47:01 AM »


One of my favorite Britten discs is the Erato disc with Nagano Bashmet and Kremmer.


DOUBLE CONCERTO
TWO PORTRAITS
YOUNG APOLLO
SINFONIETTA

pjme

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2007, 10:05:24 AM »
The French folksongs are fun and elegant at the same time.

This CD 

has three favorite works : Phaedra, Les illuminations and the French folksongs.

Jill Gomez and Felicity Palmer are the ( very good) soloists - even if the competition ( Baker, Heather Harper etc) is stiff.

Cantata academica and Cantata misericordium are not well known ( and hardly recorded - Cantata Academica has been recorded by Decca and by Supraphon -only LP - possibly there's also a version with Paul Sacher conducting - the work was written for Basle university. Cantata misericordium can only be found on the Decca/Britten series)

Academica is festive & extrovert, Misericordium (for smaller forces/ written for the Red Cross ) is almost a scene from a dramatic work ( it does depict the story of the good Samaritan . Peter Pears and Fischer Dieskau are really moving.

The Emperor

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2007, 10:42:27 AM »
The Sinfonia da requiem is a terrific concert-piece! Who knows? -- Greta may find she likes it nearly as well as The Planets?   8)
Have to agree, amazing.
The violin concerto op.15 is pretty damn nice too.


Offline scottscheule

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2007, 10:51:53 AM »
Also try Friday Afternoons, a collection of a dozen or so delightful songs.

Scriptavolant

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2007, 12:06:33 PM »
As I've britten a lot of times in the past, the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings is one of my all time favorites.

Mark

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2007, 01:02:49 PM »
... Les illuminations ...

Had my first exposure to this wonderful work thanks to a recent Proms concert. What I love about Britten is that he writes as sensitively and as imaginatively for instrumentalists as he does for voice. There's always a little something unexpected, never just run-of-the-mill accompaniment. He's fast becoming my favourite British composer.

karlhenning

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2007, 03:21:35 PM »
Absolutely, Mark.

We might almost say that Elgar was an important English composer, partly because he paved the way for Vaughan Williams, Britten and Tippett after  8)

Mark

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2007, 02:58:26 AM »
Absolutely, Mark.

We might almost say that Elgar was an important English composer, partly because he paved the way for Vaughan Williams, Britten and Tippett after  8)

Very well. I shall graciously concede such. :)

pjme

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2007, 05:11:17 AM »
Talking about Britten made go through my collection . I picked "Diversions" for piano left hand & orch. What a scintillating score! Leon Fleisher & Boston SO / Ozawa. -great combination with Ravel's concerto in D and Prokofiev's 4th.

karlhenning

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #15 on: August 12, 2007, 07:11:57 AM »
Thanks for the alert, Peter!  There's a Britten piece which was entirely off my radar . . .  .

pjme

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2007, 12:35:33 PM »
I took out the Cantata academica (op.62 -1959) aswell.

Soprano Jennifer Vyvyan, alto Helen Watts, Peter Pears tenor and Owen Brannigan, bass/baritone
The London Symphony Orchesra and Chorus - George Malcolm ( 1961 recording)

"Feel good" music in every sense. Festive trumpet fanfares, exuberant choruses, a wonderful soft arioso (con canto popolare) for soprano (over a hummed choral accompaniment), recitatives for tenor and piano solo...Britten packs a lot of light hearted( yet clever) invention in this cantata in 12 short movements.
The Latin text is a paean to Basle as "The city on the Rhine that is welcoming to all who want to study and teach at its academy"....It ends with a loud "Corale con canto" - tubular bells & piano ring out!!





Offline BachQ

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #17 on: August 12, 2007, 05:38:45 PM »
Britten > Elgar

Bonehelm

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #18 on: August 13, 2007, 12:47:36 AM »
Britten > Elgar

Tell us something we don't already know. Please.

For instance:

Elgar wears multidimensional underwears

Offline The new erato

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #19 on: August 13, 2007, 03:03:14 AM »
One work I used to like a lot, but haven't heard since I packed up my LP player some years ago, and is hardly ever mentioned: The Spring Symphony! Love the Boy chorus with whistling (the Driving Boy I seem to remember it was called), startlingly original.

Need a CD recording, think my LP is on EMI with Previn. Recommendations anyone?