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Thread: Benjamin Britten

  1. #76
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    His Aldeburgh Festival recordings of Haydn's "Farewell" and "Schoolmaster" symphonies are remarkably well judged, even today, and well captured considering the date and location.

    004.jpgMozart-Haydn-Britten.jpg

    Of his recordings of his own music, I'm very fond of the Les Illuminations with Peter Pears

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  3. #77
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    Default Benjamin Britten

    Any recommendation of Benjamin Britten works?

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    The War Requiem, the opera's Peter Grimes and Death in Venice, the Sinfonia da Requiem, the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, and the song cycle Winterwords.
    Und Morgen wird die Sonne wieder scheinen.....

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    Senior Member ahammel's Avatar
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    The cello suites are wonderful.

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    Senior Member Vaneyes's Avatar
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    "Frank Bridge Variations", w. Csaba (BIS)
    Sinfonia da Requiem, Sea Interludes, Passacaglia, w. Previn (EMI)
    String Quartets 1 - 3, w. Maggini Qt. (Naxos)
    Cello Suites, w. Wispelwey (Channel Cl.)

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  10. #81
    Senior Member Neo Romanza's Avatar
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    Recommendations for Britten? Let's see...

    The 'war trilogy' is always a good place to start: Sinfonia da Requiem, Ballad of Heroes, and War Requiem. Also try the concerti for piano and violin, the early Double Concerto, Diversions, Nocturne, Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings, Variations on a Theme by Frank Bridge, 'Interludes' From 'Peter Grimes', and Nocturne. All of these works should give you an idea of the compositional range that Britten had.

    For recordings, do try to get Britten's own recordings of his music. He was a fine conductor and I have found that while conductors like Previn, Hickox, Volkov, Rattle, etc have a fine ear tuned to this music, it was Britten himself that knew how to get the maximum impact out of his music, but, as I read somewhere, in order for Britten's music to continue to live and remain viable, it must find new, refreshing avenues of expression.

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  12. #82
    Senior Member TalkingHead's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ahammel View Post
    The cello suites are wonderful.
    They are, no doubt about it, and I suppose Rostropovitch is pretty much the 'one-to-go-to' for the most satisfying execution of them. That said, there are others ...
    Another BB favourite of mine is his A Ceremony of Carols - there is something for me so painfully 'nostalgic' about this set (boys' voices + harp). Probably due to the fact that I was a boy choristor.

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  14. #83
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    All good recommendations. Or, you could listen to what's probably his most popular piece, "The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" aka "Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell". Again, Britten's own version of this warhorse is wonderful.


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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    One of BB's more moving works is the cantata Rejoice in the Lamb as it was set to texts by the 18th century poet Christopher Smart, whose religious unorthodoxy twinned with a fragile mental state led him to be incarcerated in an insane asylum due to the less empathetic standards of the time. His texts were written while he was locked up - it's not exactly Diary of a Madman stuff, more a gently idiosyncratic devotion to God where, according to Smart, flowers, cats and mice are on an equal footing with humans - in the case of the animals maybe higher due to their innocence - an unfashionable credo in a more brutal age where cruelty to animals wasn't much of an issue.

    His early-ish concertos for piano and violin are worth checking out, too.

    Otherwise, many worthwhile suggestions listed in previous posts.

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    Some of the early works too -

    "Double Concerto" (1932), already mentioned;
    "Fantasia in f", for String Quintet (1932);
    "Young Apollo" for piano & strings (1939).

    and the "Cello Sonata" (1960) (recorded by Britten and Rostropovich, among others), plus
    "Diversions on a Theme" for Piano Left Hand & Orchestra (1940), though some recordings lack a bit of drive.

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  19. #86
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    If you're in a gnarly mood, the Cello Symphony is very odd and out-of-character but quite impressive.


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    Senior Member PetrB's Avatar
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    Adding to an already solid list of range:
    Les Illuminations, for soprano (or tenor) and strings (texts; Arthur Rimbaud) -- my preference is for a Soprano on this one.

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  23. #88
    Senior Member Neo Romanza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    If you're in a gnarly mood, the Cello Symphony is very odd and out-of-character but quite impressive.
    Yes, it has a similar atmosphere of some of the more dissonant passages in Sinfonia da Requiem. There are many good performances of this work available but Rostropovich definitely has the market cornered.
    "Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music." - Sergei Rachmaninov

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    Senior Member jurianbai's Avatar
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    Britten... interesting composer. Works recommended



    and the Violin concerto, the one that I listen

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  27. #90
    Senior Member Neo Romanza's Avatar
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    I can't believe Britten's composer thread only has one page?!?!? Wow....
    "Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music." - Sergei Rachmaninov

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