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Benjamin Britten|A Ceremony Of Carols - Britten Choral Works II

A Ceremony Of Carols - Britten Choral Works II

The Sixteen & Harry Christophers

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Harry Christophers, founder and conductor of the Sixteen, writes that performances of A Ceremony of Carols have become so routine that practices alien to the composer's intent have become enshrined and unthinkingly repeated from performance to performance. Christophers' intent is to look freshly at the score and follow it faithfully and without preconceptions. His performance does, in fact, sound newly imagined, with some surprises in tempos, dynamics, and articulation that make good musical sense. Most noticeable is maintaining the same tempo throughout "This Little Babe," Britten's frighteningly close three-part canon, which when taken at the correct speed can inspire fear in both performers and audience, as well it should. At the end of the piece, in most performances, conductors allow the tempo to go slack, as if in relief at making it through the hard part. Christophers keeps precisely to the original tempo, allowing Britten's longer note values to provide the respite from the torrent preceded it, and it's highly effective. Christophers is a stickler, to good effect, for precision in articulation, giving the work more varied textures than some other performances. He also maintains a refreshingly strict adherence to the proper pronunciation of the Middle English. The ensemble, which includes female sopranos and altos and male altos, sings with such pure, straight tone that the listener is hardly aware that they are not treble voices. The album includes incisive performances of three of Britten's carols, his wonderfully quirky Missa Brevis, and his 30-minute set of choral variations, A Boy was Born.
© TiVo

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A Ceremony Of Carols - Britten Choral Works II

Benjamin Britten

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1
A Ceremony Of Carols, Op. 28: Procession
The Sixteen
00:01:39

Benjamin Britten, Composer - The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

2
A Ceremony Of Carols, Op. 28: Wolcum Yole!
Sioned Williams
00:01:19

Sioned Williams, MainArtist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

3
A Ceremony Of Carols, Op. 28: There Is No Rose
Sioned Williams
00:02:16

Sioned Williams, MainArtist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Boosey & Co Ltd, MusicPublisher

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

4
A Ceremony Of Carols, Op. 28: That Yongë Child
Sioned Williams
00:01:40

Sioned Williams, MainArtist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Sally Dunkley, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

5
A Ceremony Of Carols, Op. 28: Balulalow
Sioned Williams
00:01:15

Sioned Williams, MainArtist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Libby Crabtree, MainArtist - Boosey & Co Ltd, MusicPublisher

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

6
A Ceremony Of Carols, Op. 28: As Dew In Aprille
Sioned Williams
00:00:56

Sioned Williams, MainArtist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

7
A Ceremony Of Carols, Op. 28: This Little Babe
Sioned Williams
00:01:24

Sioned Williams, MainArtist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

8
A Ceremony Of Carols, Op. 28: Interlude
Sioned Williams
00:03:57

Sioned Williams, MainArtist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

9
A Ceremony Of Carols, Op. 28: In Freezing Winter Night
Sioned Williams
00:03:09

Sioned Williams, MainArtist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Libby Crabtree, MainArtist - Sally Dunkley, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

10
A Ceremony Of Carols, Op. 28: Spring Carol
Sioned Williams
00:01:03

Sioned Williams, MainArtist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Libby Crabtree, MainArtist - Sally Dunkley, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

11
A Ceremony Of Carols, Op. 28: Deo Gracias!
Sioned Williams
00:01:06

Sioned Williams, MainArtist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

12
A Ceremony Of Carols, Op. 28: Recession
The Sixteen
00:01:58

Benjamin Britten, Composer - The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

13
A Shepherd's Carol
Simon Birchall
00:03:35

Benjamin Britten, Composer - Carys Lane, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Simon Birchall, MainArtist - Neil Mackenzie, MainArtist - Deborah Miles-Johnson, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

14
The Sycamore Tree
The Sixteen
00:01:50

Benjamin Britten, Composer - The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

15
Sweet Was The Song
The Sixteen
00:02:34

Benjamin Britten, Composer - The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

16
Missa Brevis In D, Op. 63: Kyrie
Carys Lane
00:01:58

Margaret Phillips, MainArtist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - Carys Lane, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Rebecca Outram, MainArtist - Deborah Miles-Johnson, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

17
Missa Brevis In D, Op. 63: Gloria
Carys Lane
00:02:36

Margaret Phillips, MainArtist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - Carys Lane, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Rebecca Outram, MainArtist - Deborah Miles-Johnson, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

18
Missa Brevis In D, Op. 63: Sanctus & Benedictus
Carys Lane
00:03:03

Margaret Phillips, MainArtist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - Carys Lane, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Rebecca Outram, MainArtist - Deborah Miles-Johnson, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

19
Missa Brevis In D, Op. 63: Agnus Dei
Carys Lane
00:02:16

Margaret Phillips, MainArtist - Benjamin Britten, Composer - Carys Lane, MainArtist - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Rebecca Outram, MainArtist - Deborah Miles-Johnson, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

20
A Boy Was Born, Op. 3: Theme (Theme)
The Sixteen
00:02:21

Benjamin Britten, Composer - Choristers of St Paul's Cathedral, Ensemble - John Scott, Conductor - The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

21
A Boy Was Born, Op. 3: Variation I: Lullay, Jesu
The Sixteen
00:04:23

Benjamin Britten, Composer - Choristers of St Paul's Cathedral, Ensemble - John Scott, Conductor - The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

22
A Boy Was Born, Op. 3: Variation II: Herod
The Sixteen
00:02:16

Benjamin Britten, Composer - Choristers of St Paul's Cathedral, Ensemble - John Scott, Conductor - The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

23
A Boy Was Born, Op. 3: Variation III: Jesu, As Thou Art
Jamie Hopkins
00:02:54

Benjamin Britten, Composer - Choristers of St Paul's Cathedral, Ensemble - John Scott, Conductor - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Jamie Hopkins, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

24
A Boy Was Born, Op. 3: Variation IV: The Three Kings
The Sixteen
00:03:34

Benjamin Britten, Composer - Choristers of St Paul's Cathedral, Ensemble - John Scott, Conductor - The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

25
A Boy Was Born, Op. 3: Variation V: In The Bleak Mid-Winter
Jamie Hopkins
00:05:11

Benjamin Britten, Composer - Choristers of St Paul's Cathedral, Ensemble - John Scott, Conductor - The Sixteen, Ensemble - Harry Christophers, Conductor - Jamie Hopkins, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

26
A Boy Was Born, Op. 3: Variation VI: Noel!
The Sixteen
00:09:10

Benjamin Britten, Composer - Choristers of St Paul's Cathedral, Ensemble - John Scott, Conductor - The Sixteen, Ensemble, MainArtist - Harry Christophers, Conductor, MainArtist

(C) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd. (P) 2005 The Sixteen Productions Ltd.

Album Description

Harry Christophers, founder and conductor of the Sixteen, writes that performances of A Ceremony of Carols have become so routine that practices alien to the composer's intent have become enshrined and unthinkingly repeated from performance to performance. Christophers' intent is to look freshly at the score and follow it faithfully and without preconceptions. His performance does, in fact, sound newly imagined, with some surprises in tempos, dynamics, and articulation that make good musical sense. Most noticeable is maintaining the same tempo throughout "This Little Babe," Britten's frighteningly close three-part canon, which when taken at the correct speed can inspire fear in both performers and audience, as well it should. At the end of the piece, in most performances, conductors allow the tempo to go slack, as if in relief at making it through the hard part. Christophers keeps precisely to the original tempo, allowing Britten's longer note values to provide the respite from the torrent preceded it, and it's highly effective. Christophers is a stickler, to good effect, for precision in articulation, giving the work more varied textures than some other performances. He also maintains a refreshingly strict adherence to the proper pronunciation of the Middle English. The ensemble, which includes female sopranos and altos and male altos, sings with such pure, straight tone that the listener is hardly aware that they are not treble voices. The album includes incisive performances of three of Britten's carols, his wonderfully quirky Missa Brevis, and his 30-minute set of choral variations, A Boy was Born.
© TiVo

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