Benjamin Britten

SKU: AORG 152-45

Barcode: 858492002527

68.00 £68.00
  • Genre: Classical
  • Label: ORG
  • Released Date: 12th November 2014
  • Buying Format:
    180g 2LP 45rpm
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On this audiophile release from the Original Recordings Group, Benjamin Britten conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in a performance of his own final song cycle Nocturne while Peter Pears and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden perform the two pieces – “Four Sea Interludes” and “Passacaglia” – from Britten’s opera Peter Grimes.

The Nocturne, Op. 60, composed in 1958 and first performed at that year’s Leeds Centenary Festival, is in many respects a successor to Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings. As with the earlier work, the texts have the theme of night, sleep and dreams in common, but there are some important differences: in contrast to the single obbligato horn employed in the Serenade, Britten here uses seven different solo instruments, each of which lends its own distinctive color to each setting.

Whereas the Serenade had consisted of a sequence of separate, self-contained songs, however unified overall, the Nocturne is completely through-composed, connected by means of a recurring ritornello figure in the strings, its gently rocking motion no doubt meant to represent the breathing sleeper (this idea actually derives from a song originally intended for the Serenade, ‘Now sleeps the crimson petal’, which was never used). The harmonic language too is less tonally stable and more ambiguous, making particular use of the juxtaposition of two keys a semi-tone apart, C and D flat. Britten dedicated the work to Alma Mahler, in doing so acknowledging the debt he himself owed to Gustav Mahler.

Benjamin Britten (composer)
Benjamin Britten / Peter Pears (conductor)
London Symphony Orchestra
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden

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Track Listings

1. Britten - Nocturne
2. Grimes - Dawn
3. Grimes - Sunday Morning
4. Grimes - Moonlight
5. Grimes - Storm
6. Grimes - Passacaglia

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