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Concertos - Released November 1, 2004 | Chandos

For admirers of Steuart Bedford's recordings of the music of Benjamin Britten, this re-release of his 1984 recordings of the Symphony for cello and orchestra with his arrangement of a concert suite from Death in Venice will be gratefully received. Bedford had been anointed by Peter Pears, Britten's musical executor, as a Britten interpreter and even allowed to create the concert suite. Bedford's conducting is surely more assured than Britten's in general, but his interpretations were clearly steeped in Britten's interpretations. Bedford's performance of the Symphony with cellist Raphael Wallfisch has all the essential characteristics of Britten's with Rostropovich. Both are powerfully dramatic, deeply lyrical, and ultimately elegiac performances and the brawny tone, rugged sonorities, and muscular rhythms so characteristic of Britten and Rostropovich's interpretation are likewise characteristic of Bedford and Wallfisch's interpretation. But while Bedford and Wallfisch's performance is brilliantly played and very convincing, Britten and Rostropovich's performance is transcendently played and truly compelling. Bedford's performance of his own Death in Venice suite is closer to compelling. While his suite has the dramatic shape of the opera and his performance had the essential character of Britten's, his interpretation is his own. Bedford's interpretation is as luminously despairing as the opera, it has the convictions of its compulsions. The early digital sound is surprisingly lush and full. © TiVo