ORG Original Recordings Group - ORG152 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl
AAA 100% Analogue - Pressed at RTI - London CS 6179
Mastered By Bernie Grundman - 2,500 Numbered Limited Edition
All Valve Analogue Mastered by Bernie Grundman from the Original Analog Master Tapes
Benjamin Britten conducts the London Symphony Orchestra. Peter Pears and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden perform Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia by Peter Grimes.
On this release, Benjamin Britten conducts the London Symphony Orchestra performing "Nocturne." Additionally, Peter Pears and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden perform "Four Sea Interludes" and "Passacaglia" from "Peter Grimes."
Nocturne is a song cycle by Benjamin Britten, written for tenor, seven obbligato instruments and strings. The seven instruments are flute, cor anglais, clarinet, bassoon, harp, French horn and timpani. Nocturne was Britten's fourth and final orchestral song cycle. It was dedicated to Alma Mahler.
Nocturne was premiered in the Leeds Town Hall at the centenary Leeds Festival on 16 October 1958 by Peter Pears and the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Rudolf Schwarz.
The theme of the piece, as its name Nocturne suggests, is sleep and darkness, both in the literal and figurative sense. In this respect, the work is reminiscent of Britten's earlier Serenade. Unlike Serenade, Nocturne is presented as a continuous piece rather than separate movements. This is emphasized by a number of figures which occur throughout, most notably the 'rocking' string motif which opens the work. The conflicting tonal relationship between C and D-flat is also evident throughout, reflecting the contrast between the untroubled and the more perturbed aspects of sleep which are also described by Britten's choice of poems.
Although numerous truly remarkable and wholly satisfactory recordings of works by Benjamin Britten — conducted namely by the composer's assistant of many years standing, Steuart Bedford — have been released in recent years, those recordings made with the composer himself simply cannot be surpassed.
What can be more authentic than a composer conducting his own works? And this is certainly true for the present recording. The song cycle Nocturne Op. 60 was composed by Britten for the tenor Peter Pears who was not only Britten's life companion but also the most supreme interpreter of his works. Pears is, however, not only the key to the Nocturne, a work which takes night and sleep as its theme, but also to Peter Grimes, Britten's very first opera. This work not only brought the composer his international breakthrough but opened the gateway to British opera in its own right.
The sharply focussed Four Sea Interludes which separate the individual acts of the opera reflect the various states of mind and soul of the tragic hero and often appear on a concert programme as a self-contained work. The Interludes are complemented here by the Passacaglia from the Second Act of the opera, again conducted by the composer. It really goes without saying that this truly authentic recording can never be bettered.
Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia are from Britten's opera "Peter Grimes." Both pieces are often performed together.
London Symphony Orchestra
Benjamin Britten, conductor
Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)
LP 1 - Side A:
1. Nocturne, Op.60 for Tenor Solo - Seven Obligato Instruments and String Orchestra (Part 1 of 2)
LP 1 - Side B:
1. Nocturne, Op.60 for Tenor Solo - Seven Obligato Instruments and String Orchestra (Part 2 of 2)
LP 2 - Side C:
Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia from "Peter Grimes," Op.33
1. Dawn (Act I)
2. Sunday Morning (Act II)
3. Moonlight (Act III)
LP 2 - Side D:
1. Storm (Act I)
2. Passacaglia (Act II)