5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
In 1955 Britten’s composed Still Falls the Rain, a setting for tenor, piano and horn of a poem by Edith Sitwell – the third of his five Canticles, written at various points in his life between 1947 and 1974, with three of them written as memorials: it is not a cycle as such, but merely a collection; instrumentation differs on each piece, and several are based on non-sacred texts. Sitwell, who attended the first performance, was overwhelmed by the work and her response led her to be invited to the 1956 Aldeburgh Festival where she and Britten would collaborate on a programme of her poetry to include further settings specially written for the occasion by Britten, for the same cast: tenor, horn and piano, with an additional narrator for some poems deliberately not set to music. For the event, entitled The Heart of the Matter, Britten composed extra music to surround and complement Canticle III which formed the centrepiece of the presentation. In 1983, Peter Pears revised and revived the work, and it is in this version that The Heart of the Matter has been performed since. For the world premiere, Sitwell recited her poems, Britten was at the piano, Peter pears sung and Dennis Brain tooted the horn. For the present recording, Christophe Prégardien sings and narrates the poems, Olivier Darbellay plays the horn, Michael Gees is at the piano. As a complement to the Britten work, the trio plays several songs from the Romantic period written for piano, horn and voice, by Conradin Kreutzer, Franz Lachner and Henry Hugh Pierson, closing that superb album with Schubert’s Auf dem Strom.