Author Topic: Benjamin Britten  (Read 75219 times)

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Offline San Antone

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #500 on: January 25, 2020, 07:46:04 AM »
I usually turn to Naxos for repertoire that you just can’t find on any other label. In this respect, I find them useful and sometimes even ‘ahead of the curve’ so to speak, but when it comes to major repertoire, I’m afraid they simply don’t measure up. But this is my opinion and understand that not everyone shares these views.

(I had mistakenly posted this somewhere else, where it made no sense.  ;D  )

I could happily live on a desert island with nothing but Naxos recordings.  But I might be unique among classical music listeners, my favorite recording of a work is almost always the one I am listening to at the time.

 8)

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #501 on: January 25, 2020, 07:47:18 AM »
My only point was that the musicians are far more important than the label. There are great recordings on Naxos and there are awful recordings on BIS, Decca, or DG. The inverse of course is also true. I agree that they are generally ahead of the curve on recording certain repertoire that other labels would not risk their budget on recording.

But my point is the musicians on the Naxos label don’t always interest me and many times aren’t in the same league as what the major labels have produced. This is why Naxos isn’t too important of a label to me when it comes to the major repertoire.
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #502 on: January 25, 2020, 07:59:05 AM »
(I had mistakenly posted this somewhere else, where it made no sense.  ;D  )

I could happily live on a desert island with nothing but Naxos recordings.  But I might be unique among classical music listeners, my favorite recording of a work is almost always the one I am listening to at the time.

 8)

I hope I can choose what recordings I can take to that desert island and not be stuck with Naxos recordings. :) Naxos isn’t a terrible label by any means and I don’t want it to sound like I’m bashing the label, but they’re not always a first choice in repertoire that’s important to me.
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline San Antone

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #503 on: January 25, 2020, 08:21:19 AM »
I hope I can choose what recordings I can take to that desert island and not be stuck with Naxos recordings. :) Naxos isn’t a terrible label by any means and I don’t want it to sound like I’m bashing the label, but they’re not always a first choice in repertoire that’s important to me.

I have always been more interested in the work, the music, instead of any specific performer.  Yeah, I know it takes a performer to realize the music and some do a better job then others.  But it is also the case where the differences are very small or a preferred recording is the result of personal/subjective taste.  So, I am generally very forgiving of the performance since I am mainly listening to the music/work and don't much care for the minutia of performance aspects. 

But, if it is a work I know well or a composer whose music I know well, then I will be more choosy - but this is mainly for big things, like I prefer the organ version of the Durufle Requiem.  That said, I have never been disappointed by a Naxos recording.  Alsop's Bernstein recordings are a case in point.

Back to Britten - after spending some time recently with his operas, I really think he was one of the most important operatic composers of the 20th century - maybe of all centuries.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #504 on: January 25, 2020, 08:33:26 AM »
Back to Britten - after spending some time recently with his operas, I really think he was one of the most important operatic composers of the 20th century - maybe of all centuries.

So do I, but my opinion may, of course, be just a tad bit biased. :) But, to be even more honest, I like all of facets of his oeuvre and I consider him one of the greats. Incredibly consistent composer and no one really sounds remotely like him.
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #505 on: January 25, 2020, 08:55:53 AM »
I just got this CD in the mail:



First listen to the famous Serenade. So far, so good, I am enjoying it. Pears' voice is a little less grating than usual today. The interplay between tenor and horn is very interesting. I am very much enjoying slowly exploring Britten's works. All of the Decca recordings thus far under the composer's baton have been very good.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #506 on: January 25, 2020, 11:07:14 AM »


Back to Britten - after spending some time recently with his operas, I really think he was one of the most important operatic composers of the 20th century - maybe of all centuries.

It's interesting to hear an American saying that. I think many people who went to the opera in London in the second half of the last century would agree, but we were never sure about his reception elsewhere. What I can see is that Grimes gets more and more positive attention from opera people in Europe, and Billy Budd has developped a sort of gay cachet after the film Beau Travail, but maybe the other operas are still not very well known. That seems a shame to me, I like Grimes very much, I have mixed views about Billy Budd,  but the real summit IMO is Turn of the Screw.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2020, 11:13:19 AM by Mandryka »
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #507 on: January 25, 2020, 11:23:24 AM »


First listen to the famous Serenade.

Invisible worm.

WTF is that about?!!!!
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #508 on: January 25, 2020, 04:56:24 PM »
Invisible worm.

WTF is that about?!!!!

 :laugh: I'm not much of a poetry buff myself, but I do like some Blake. I didn't have the words in front of me the whole time, I'm going to do it right next time, see if I can make some sense out of the words. I was more so immersed in the beautiful orchestration.

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #509 on: January 25, 2020, 07:41:17 PM »
I just got this CD in the mail:



First listen to the famous Serenade. So far, so good, I am enjoying it. Pears' voice is a little less grating than usual today. The interplay between tenor and horn is very interesting. I am very much enjoying slowly exploring Britten's works. All of the Decca recordings thus far under the composer's baton have been very good.

A fantastic recording, but I’m of the mind that there are many great performances of these works. Philip Langridge, for example, does a fantastic Serenade as does newcomer Allan Clayton (on Linn). Do check both of these out (when you get the time). They were hugely impressive.
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #510 on: January 25, 2020, 07:46:40 PM »
It's interesting to hear an American saying that. I think many people who went to the opera in London in the second half of the last century would agree, but we were never sure about his reception elsewhere. What I can see is that Grimes gets more and more positive attention from opera people in Europe, and Billy Budd has developped a sort of gay cachet after the film Beau Travail, but maybe the other operas are still not very well known. That seems a shame to me, I like Grimes very much, I have mixed views about Billy Budd,  but the real summit IMO is Turn of the Screw.

I certainly agree that The Turn of the Screw is phenomenal, but I wouldn’t call it ‘the real summit’ of his operatic output. I think this opera, Death in Venice, Peter Grimes, and, believe it or not, Gloriana are what I consider to be Britten at his operatic best. Death in Venice is still rather unappreciated I think, although I’m not sure how often it gets performed. Even when I wasn’t completely taken by Britten’s music years ago, I thought highly of this opera and, in this sense, it was my gateway into his operas.
“Works of art create rules; rules do not create works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Benjamin Britten
« Reply #511 on: February 12, 2020, 03:46:25 AM »
Just finished Britten's Violin Concerto, and I'm curious about a passage in the second movement. Somewhere in the middle, the solo violin plays very high, and is joined by the piccolo. Then at the other end of the scale, a tuba comes in and plays an ascending pattern which sounds pretty similar to the first half of the subsequent Passacaglia's ground-bass theme. Can the tuba part in II be considered a "preview" of the upcoming Passacaglia to which the entire concerto is building?