Britten, Benjamin

August 14, 2019, 7:00 pm

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Benjamin Britten’s works can be edgy, or they can be warm and accessible. On Monday we learn about Britten’s childhood, and the deep bond between him and his teacher, Frank Bridge. As the week continues, Bill introduces us to the influential people in his life, including Britten’s lifelong partner, tenor Peter Pears. We will hear Pears sing with virtuoso horn player Dennis Brain in the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings. On Friday, two slain soldiers from opposite sides meet in the underworld to sing “Libera Me” from the War Requiem. Then we sample some folksongs, and end on a bright note: Britten’s how-to guide for young classical music listeners, The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.


Episode 1

Benjamin Britten: Simple Symphony, IV
Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
Prokofiev: Classical Symphony; Bizet, Britten / Orpheus CO
DG 423624; 2:51

Frank Bridge: Moonlight from The Sea
Royal Liverpool Phil/Groves
British Composers – Bridge: The Sea, Etc / Groves, Et Al
EMI 66855; 5:18

Benjamin Britten: Sinfonietta, I & III
Hallé Orchestra/Nagano
Britten – Double Concerto · Young Apollo ·
Sinfonietta / Kremer · Bashmet · Nagano
Erato 25502; 8:15

Benjamin Britten: A Boy Was Born (excerpts)
Finzi Singers, Lichfield Cathedral Choir/Spicer
Britten: Choral Edition Vol. 3 / Spicer, The Finzi Singers
Chandos 9701; 8:58

Benjamin Britten: Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge (excerpts)
English Chamber Orchestra/Britten
Britten: Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra / Britten
London 417509; 7:00

Benjamin Britten: Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 13, I
English Chamber Orch/Britten; Richter, piano
Britten: Piano Concerto, Violin Concerto / Richter, Britten
London 417308; 12:04

Episode 2

Benjamin Britten: Violin Concerto, Op. 15, I
LSO/Rostropovich; Vengerov, violin
Britten: Violin Concerto; Walton / Maxim Vengerov
EMI 57510; 10:04

Benjamin Britten: Les Illuminations, Op. 18 (excerpts)
English Chamber Orch/Britten; Pears, tenor
Britten: Serenade, Les Illuminations / Britten, Pears
London 417153; 7:27

Benjamin Britten: Sinfonia da Requiem, Op. 20, I
London Phil/Slatkin
Britten: Young Person’s Guide… / L. Slatkin
RCA 61226; 7:57

Benjamin Britten: Paul Bunyan (excerpts)
Royal Opera House Covent Garden/Hickox
Britten: Paul Bunyan / Hickox, Cranham, Gritton, Et Al
Chandos 9781; 4:28

Benjamin Britten: Quartet for Strings No. 1 in D Major, Op. 25, I
Endellion String Quartet
Benjamin Britten: The Complete Music for String Quartet
EMI 47695; 8:39

Benjamin Britten: Pastoral & Nocturne from Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Op. 31
Boyd Neel String Orchestra/Britten; Pears, tenor; Brain, horn
Britten: Serenade, Winter Words, Etc / Britten, Pears
London 425996; 7:06

Episode 3

Benjamin Britten: Hymn from Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Op. 31
LSO/Britten; Tuckwell, horn
Britten: Serenade; Les Illuminations; Nocturne
London 417153; 2:01

Benjamin Britten: Peter Grimes, Op. 33 (excerpts)
Royal Opera House Covent Garden/Haitink; Johnson, tenor; Allen, baritone; Lott, soprano
Peter Grimes
EMI 54832; 7:16, 5:17, 1:31, 5:27, :36, 1:16, 2:34

Benjamin Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter GrimesMoonlight & Sunday Morning
London Phil/Slatkin
Britten: Young Person’s Guide… / L. Slatkin
RCA 61226; 8:21

Benjamin Britten: Quartet for Strings No. 2 in C Major, Op. 36, I
Endellion String Quartet
Benjamin Britten: The Complete Music for String Quartet
EMI 47696; 7:51

Benjamin Britten: Rossini Suite, II & IV
Scottish Chamber Orch/Bedford; Bedford, piano
Benjamin Britten: The collector’s Edition 37 CDs
EMI 49480; 4:10

Episode 4

Benjamin Britten: Spring Symphony, Op. 44, finale
Orchestra & Chorus of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden/Britten; Pears, tenor; Proctor, contralto; Vyvyan, soprano
Britten: Spring Symphony, Cantata Academica, Etc / Britten
London 425153; 7:26

Benjamin Britten: Pan from Metamorphoses after Ovid for oboe solo, Op. 49
Carter, oboe
Cello Sonata – Suite for violin and piano – Elegy for solo viola – Six Metamorphoses after Ovid
EMI 55398; 2:20

Benjamin Britten: Suite from Gloriana, Op. 53a, I & II
Bournemouth Symphony/Segal
Britten: Gloriana Symphonic Suite The Prince of the Pagodas Prelude and Dances
EMI 69422; 8:21

Benjamin Britten: The Prince of the Pagodas (excerpts)
London Sinfonietta/Knussen
Britten: The Prince Of The Pagodas / Knussen, London Sinfonietta
Virgin 91103; 6:50

Benjamin Britten: Nocturne for Tenor, 7 Obbligato Instruments & Strings (excerpts)
English Chamber Orch/Britten; Pears, tenor
Britten: Serenade; Les Illuminations; Nocturne
EMI 417153; 5:35

Benjamin Britten: Requiem Aeternam from War Requiem, Op. 66
City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra & Chorus/Rattle; Tear, tenor; Allen, baritone.; Söderström, soprano
Simon Rattle Edition – Benjamin Britten
EMI 47034; 9:51

Benjamin Britten: Suite for Solo Cello, Op. 72, II
Rostropovich, violoncello
Rostropovich – The Russian Years – Britten, Respighi, Et Al
EMI 72016; 2:20

Episode 5

Benjamin Britten: War Requiem, Op. 66 (excerpts)
LSO/Britten; Preston, organ; Vishnevskaya, soprano; Fischer-Dieskau, baritone; Pears, tenor
London 414383; 9:42, 21:32

Benjamin Britten: Folksongs, Vol. 3, No. 6: “Waly, Waly”
Britten Sinfonia/Harding; Bostridge, ten.
Britten: Serenade For Tenor, Horn & Strings, Etc / Bostridge
EMI 56871; 1:23

Benjamin Britten: Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Op. 34
Royal Phil/Previn
Prokofiev: Peter And The Wolf; Britten / Previn, Royal Po
Telarc 80126; 17:08