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Classical - Released October 16, 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Full Operas - Released September 4, 2020 | Chandos

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‘The burly Aussie tenor is now even more identified with this ill-fated protagonist than Peter Pears, the first Grimes. And everywhere Skelton has sung the part, whether at English National Opera, the Proms, the Edinburgh festival or now on this international tour of a concert staging mounted by the Bergen Philharmonic, the conductor has been Edward Gardner. Theirs is one of the great musical partnerships, and they continue to find compelling new depths in this tragic masterpiece.’ – Richard Morrison (The Times) This studio recording was made following the acclaimed production at Grieghallen, in Bergen, in 2019 (repeated in Oslo and London and reviewed above). Luxuriant playing from the Bergen Philharmonic and a stellar cast under the assured direction of Edward Gardner make this a recording to treasure. © Chandos
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Symphonic Music - Released March 1, 2011 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica - Exceptional Sound Recording - Hi-Res Audio
Other than perhaps Shostakovich, cellist Mstislav Rostropovich likely had more of an influence on composer Benjamin Britten than any other. Through their friendship and working relationship, Britten eventually composed a sonata with piano, three suites for solo cello, and the Cello Symphony. This last work began as a concerto, but Britten soon realized that the prominent role the orchestra played was far greater than the mere accompaniment usually found in most concertos. The intricate dialogue and turn-taking worked into the score turned out to be one of the composer's only symphonic works that was not originally part of an opera and later lifted as a suite. The most famous and frequently played of these suites is the "Four Sea Interludes" from the opera Peter Grimes. Another suite was taken from the initially ill-received Gloriana rounds out this Chandos disc. The BBC Philharmonic is led by conductor Edward Gardner in three performances of the utmost technical precision and refinement of sound. So much so, however, that despite the near perfection of the playing, the music itself often sounds sterile and aloof. Listeners after a reliable, accurate reading of the score will not be disappointed here, but those after a bit more reckless abandon in the "Storm Interlude" or solemn beauty in Gloriana's "Moritura" may be somewhat of a letdown. For his part, cellist Paul Watkins brings the same level of technical brilliance, but also a good deal more heart, risk-taking, and musical poignancy. © TiVo
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Classical - Released January 1, 2013 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released November 1, 1966 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released May 8, 2012 | LSO Live

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Concertos - Released May 7, 2013 | Chandos

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Choc de Classica
Although a pairing of concertos by a major composer would seem a natural thing, that of the Piano Concerto and the Violin Concerto of Benjamin Britten is uncommon. The reason is that the Piano Concerto is not a terribly well-known piece. It's entirely different in tone from the Violin Concerto, although the two works were composed only a year apart. The Piano Concerto is somehow less characteristic of Britten, which may have contributed to its neglect. But it comes off extremely well in this performance by the indefatigable Howard Shelley and the BBC Philharmonic under Edward Gardner. The first movement, with its brilliance and its dry satire of Romantic concerto conventions, is close enough to Shostakovich in spots to make you wonder whether one composer might have been listening to the other (given its composition date of 1938, the influence could have gone either way). The concerto was poorly reviewed at its premiere, and Britten later gave it a new, slightly shorter and tighter slow movement. The 1945 version is played here, but the original slow movement is also included, and really it's a close call: the work is given quite a different impact by the new version. Shelley's agile playing and brilliant sound from Chandos both work to the concerto's benefit. The Violin Concerto, composed in 1939 and a war-haunted work (the Spanish Civil War, not the impending World War II), is quite recognizable as Britten, but out of context hardly recognizable as the same as the composer of the Piano Concerto. Violinist Tasmin Little has made some wonderful recordings of British music of the 20th century, and your mileage may vary here, but the distinctive somehow personal sadness of Britten that is abundant in this work does not come through in this performance. Still, the fine recording of the Piano Concerto is well worth the price of admission. © TiVo
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Classical - Released November 6, 2020 | Signum Classics

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Sacred Vocal Music - Released January 25, 2019 | harmonia mundi

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Berlin's RIAS Kammerchor had plenty of experience with English music, but with this recording of mostly early choral music of Benjamin Britten they take a new step forward. You may suspects you're listening to a non-English group: not from any foreign accent, which is nonexistent, but from the choir's distinctive sound. This is the album's overall strength: in Britten works that refer closely to English traditions, many English choirs tend to adopt a cathedral style or a stereotypically madrigalian one, as the case may be. But Britten's style, although it is steeped in the English past, is not precisely neoclassic, and a more muscular approach, such as the one offered here, works well. The choir's singing is gorgeous, clear in both diction and texture. Another attraction is the comparative rarity of most of the music; the Hymn to St. Cecilia, set to a text by W.H. Auden, gets top billing even though it occupies only a short stretch, because it is the best-known work on the program. Many of the rest are little experiments in encountering the English past. Sample one of the Five Flower Songs, Op.47, of 1950, precise, sharply etched little settings of English poetry that diverge entirely from the rather generic choral language that tends to appear with such texts today. The Choral Dances from the opera Gloriana, Op. 53, are madgrialian, but again these are no exercise in nostalgia. Only the final A.M.D.G. (Ad majorem Dei gloriam), set to texts by Gerard Manley Hopkins, has a more dramatic language, and it makes a fine conclusion. The album is the perfect antidote for those whose ears have been clogged by more recent sentimentalist British choral music, and it makes one want to hear more from Justin Doyle and his German choristers. © TiVo
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Classical - Released August 1, 1991 | Chandos

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Classical - Released June 25, 2021 | PM Classics Ltd.

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Full Operas - Released February 1, 2005 | Chandos

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Classical - Released January 1, 2016 | Orfeo

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Full Operas - Released March 1, 1996 | Chandos

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Classical - Released March 1, 2004 | Warner Classics

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Classical - Released March 1, 2005 | Naxos

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Classical - Released October 1, 2005 | Coro

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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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Classical - Released January 1, 1959 | Decca Music Group Ltd.

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Classical - Released October 16, 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released September 1, 2008 | Warner Classics