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Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream [CD]

Alfred Deller Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 17.95 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream + Britten: Death in Venice + Britten: Peter Grimes
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Product details

  • Composer: Benjamin Britten
  • Audio CD (22 Mar 1990)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: CD
  • Label: London
  • ASIN: B0000041WB
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 52,417 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 1 - "Over Hill, Over Dale"Stephen Terry 4:040.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 1 - "Oberon Is Passing Fell and Wrath"London Symphony Orchestra 3:030.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 1 - "Well, Go Thy Way"Stephen Terry 3:240.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 1 - "How Now My Love?"Josephine Veasey 4:320.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 1 - "Be It On Lion, Bear, Or Wolf, Or Bull"London Symphony Orchestra 3:400.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 1 - "Welcome Wanderer!"Alfred Deller 4:300.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 1 - "Is All Our Company Here?"David Kelly 7:360.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 1 - "Fair Love, You Faint With Wand'ring In the Wood"Josephine Veasey 2:410.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 1 - "Through the Forest Have I Gone"Josephine Veasey 1:450.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 1 - "Stay, Though Thou Kill Me, Sweet Demetrius"Josephine Veasey 5:140.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 1 - "Come, Now A Roundel and A Fairy Song"London Symphony Orchestra 1:580.79  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 1 - "You Spotted Snakes With Double Tongue"London Symphony Orchestra 2:140.79  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 1 - "What Thou Seest When Thou Dost Wake"London Symphony Orchestra 1:460.79  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 2 - Introduction: The woodLondon Symphony Orchestra 3:190.79  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 2 - "Are We All Met?"Stephen Terry 7:360.79  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 2 - "I See Their Knavery"John Pryor 3:050.79  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 2 - "Be Kind and Courteous To This Gentleman"London Symphony Orchestra 1:160.79  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 2 - "Hail, Mortal, Hail!"London Symphony Orchestra 5:130.79  Buy MP3 
Listen19. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 2 - "I Have A Reas'nable Good Ear In Music"London Symphony Orchestra 3:390.79  Buy MP3 
Listen20. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 2 - "How Now, Mad Spirit?"Josephine Veasey 3:060.79  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 2 - "Flower Of This Purple Dye"Josephine Veasey 6:320.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 2 - "Puppet? Why So?"Stephen Terry 3:050.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 2 - "This Is Thy Negligence"Stephen Terry 2:090.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 2 - "Up and down, Up and Down"Josephine Veasey 6:020.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream / Act 2 - "On the Ground, Sleep Sound"London Symphony Orchestra 3:040.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.64 / Act 3 - "My Gentle Robin, See'st Thou This Sweet Sight?"Stephen Terry 7:080.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.64 / Act 3 - "Helena! Hermi! Demetrius! Lysander!"Josephine Veasey 4:460.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.64 / Act 3 - "When My Cue Comes, Call Me"London Symphony Orchestra 3:370.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.64 / Act 3 - "Have You Sent To Bottom's House?"David Kelly 3:090.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.64 / Act 3 - "Now, Fair Hippolyta"Josephine Veasey 7:240.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.64 / Act 3 - "If We Offend, It Is With Our Good Will"Josephine Veasey 1:200.79  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.64 / Act 3 - "Gentles, Perchange You Wonder At This Show"London Symphony Orchestra 1:160.79  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.64 / Act 3 - "In This Same Interlude It Doth Befall"Josephine Veasey 1:100.79  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.64 / Act 3 - "O Grim-Look'd Night, O Night With Hue So Black"London Symphony Orchestra 1:510.79  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.64 / Act 3 - "O Wall, Full Often Hast Thou Heard My Moans"London Symphony Orchestra 2:300.79  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.64 / Act 3 - "You Ladies, You Whose Gentle Hearts Do Fear"Josephine Veasey0:460.39  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.64 / Act 3 - "This Lanthorn Doth the Horned Moon Present"Josephine Veasey 1:500.79  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.64 / Act 3 - "Sweet Moon, I Thank Thee For Thy Sunny Beams"London Symphony Orchestra 1:520.79  Buy MP3 
Listen19. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.64 / Act 3 - "Asleep, My Love?"London Symphony Orchestra 2:320.79  Buy MP3 
Listen20. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.64 / Act 3 - "Come, Your Bergomask"London Symphony Orchestra 2:460.79  Buy MP3 
Listen21. Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op.64 / Act 3 - "Now the Hungry Lion Roars"Stephen Terry 5:030.79  Buy MP3 


Product Description

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAGICAL PERFORMANCE: MAGICAL OPERA 12 Nov 2005
By Klingsor Tristan VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
This was the first opera I ever saw live, during its initial London run a few months after the Aldeburgh premiere. I still carry vivid memories of that evening as a magical experience. And magic certainly lies at the heart of this entrancing (almost literally) piece.

From the sounds of the forest breathing in the opening string glissandos to the fairies' glittering benediction on Duke Theseus house at the end, Britten conjures a wonderful array of colours and pictures from his relatively modest orchestra. Each group of characters is given its own distinctive orchestral palette - strings with woodwinds predominate for the Lovers, the trombone fills in its fatter, comical tones when the Rustics appear, horns add a touch of regality for Theseus' court and the Fairies sparkle with the inspired combination of Purcellian harpsichord with harp and modern tuned percussion. Puck flits around with a sprightly trumpet always in tow (brilliantly played by William Lang on this recording).

But the piece is much deeper and more disturbing than all that surface magic suggests. Britten and Pears extracted one of the most successful of all Shakespearean librettos from the play. They managed to excise the whole of Shakespeare's First Act merely by the addition of their one and only original line ('Compelling thee to marry with Demetrius'). Thus the opera focuses even more than the play on the Wood and the misunderstandings, confusions, dreams, nightmares and, above all, the power of sleep that it brings to all the characters (including, of course, Oberon and Tytania despite their delusions of omnipotence).
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30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
As soon as you hear the glissandi double basses at the opening of this opera you will enter the world of Titania and Oberon.Britten captures this other worldliness by making Oberon a counter-tenor,a vocal quality both strange and powerful in this magical world. Childrens voices add to the atmosphere of delicacy; Puck circles the world and Titania -a high lyric soprano idles away with some of the most heart moving arias.
Britten's use of a small orcheatra creates all the varied colour needed for the fairy world and that of the mechanicals.
Midsummer Night's Dream is one of the best 'stories' there is and in the hands of Britten becomes even more 'fantastic'.I can't recommend it highly enough to someone who has never tried a Britten opera...you will be amazed!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MORE THAN STANDS UP TO LATER COMPETITION 24 Oct 2005
By Klingsor Tristan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This was the first opera I ever saw live, during its initial London run a few months after the Aldeburgh premiere. I still carry vivid memories of that evening as a magical experience. And magic certainly lies at the heart of this entrancing (almost literally) piece.

From the sounds of the forest breathing in the opening string glissandos to the fairies' glittering benediction on Duke Theseus house at the end, Britten conjures a wonderful array of colours and pictures from his relatively modest orchestra. Each group of characters is given its own distinctive orchestral palette - strings with woodwinds predominate for the Lovers, the trombone fills in its fatter, comical tones when the Rustics appear, horns add a touch of regality for Theseus' court and the Fairies sparkle with the inspired combination of Purcellian harpsichord with harp and modern tuned percussion. Puck flits around with a sprightly trumpet always in tow (brilliantly played by William Lang on this recording).

But the piece is much deeper and more disturbing than all that surface magic suggests. Britten and Pears extracted one of the most successful of all Shakespearean librettos from the play. They managed to excise the whole of Shakespeare's First Act merely by the addition of their one and only original line (`Compelling thee to marry with Demetrius'). Thus the opera focuses even more than the play on the Wood and the misunderstandings, confusions, dreams, nightmares and, above all, the power of sleep that it brings to all the characters (including, of course, Oberon and Tytania despite their delusions of omnipotence). Sleep with its benign and malign effects was a preoccupation of Britten's throughout his career - from Les Illuminations and the Serenade through Let Us Sleep in War Requiem and Dormi nunc in the Cantata Misericordium to Aschenbach's Dionysian nightmare in Death in Venice. The deepest explorations, though, are contained in the contemporaneous Nocturne and here in the Dream.

The key to this is Act 2 of the opera and the four `sleep' chords that open it and on which the whole structure is based. Between them they contain all 12 notes of the chromatic scale. But this is no serial piece. The implicit dissonances can certainly cloud the harmonic air at moments of crisis and conflict, but the key centres implied by each chord can also restore consonance again. And all four chords provide a healing benediction below Puck's `Jack shall have Jill' prophesy at the end of the Act.

None of this takes away from the fact that this is, of course, a comedy - it merely serves, as in all great comedies, to deepen the human impact. Much of the opera is very funny - the lovers' confusions, the big quarrel scene and, naturally, much of the Rustics material. The Pyramus & Thisbe play has come in for its share of stick - too arch, too knowing, etc. - but I still find Britten's parodies of grand and bel canto operas funny, especially the way he takes the Michael out of Donizetti.

This recording, under the composer's direction, has most things going for it, not least Britten's impeccable pacing of the score. The lovers are a mixed bunch: Veasey and Harper are excellent, Hemsley very good, but Pears is hopelessly miscast as Lysander. Flute was his part in the premiere and was probably the best part for him - he caught `Oh sweet bully Bottom' perfectly. But he is frankly too old, too knowing and the wrong voice for the ardent young lover. Brannigan is by far the best Bottom on disc - as well as all the knockabout stuff, he captures the awe, the wonder and the sense of a life changed by his experiences to perfection in Bottom's Dream. The rest of the Rustics, ably led by Norman Lumsden's Peter Quince, are all worthy of their starring roles in the play as well as in their contributions to the rehearsals. The Fairies are a match for any of their rivals on disc. Deller may lack some of the darker, more menacing side of Oberon's character that James Bowman captures so well, but his singing of the ravishingly Purcellian `I know a bank' is matchless. So, too the late Elizabeth Harwood in all the florid coloratura passages.

While Colin Davis and Richard Hickox produce performances of this many-layered opera that make for fascinating comparisons with this first recorded reading, these are still the yardstick discs of Britten's Dream.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tour De Force 28 Jan 2004
By R. Albin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is a really impressive work. Shakespeare's play is long, has a complex plot, and a great deal of complicated language. Adapting this work for an opera would daunt almost anyone. Judicious cuts shorten the work substantially without sacrificing the integrity of the plot or any of the really important episodes. Britten's remarkable ability to shape music for english texts is exercised to its full capacity, and the plot is cleverly reinforced by the music. Britten develops 3 plot strands, the Oberon/Titania conflict, the romantic misadventures of Lysander/Helena/etc., and the story of the rude mechanicals. Each group is provided with distinctive and appropriate music. As the opera progresses, the plots intertwine and the musical styles become intermixed. This is a masterly combination of well developed literary judgement, stagecraft, and musical expression.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive. 25 Oct 2004
By Marcus K. Maroney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Another in the line of definitive recordings made by Britten of his own work. A previous reviewer said this recording includes the original cast members, which isn't quite accurate (i.e., Pears created the role of Flute, not Lysander). However, there simply isn't a weak link here, and that's saying quite a bit given the size of the cast. My only wish is that Harper had been cast as Hermia (a more vocally beautiful part perfect for her) instead of Helena (also a nice part, but more anonymous, like Veasey's beautiful but not distinctive voice). It's great that Stephen Terry brings as much characterization to Puck as the singers do the their roles, a problem in Davis' recording. While Alfred Deller's countertenor is a bit more metallic than we're used to nowadays (with Scholl, Daniels and Asawa investing us with expectations of utmost creaminess in a countertenor's sound), the added edge makes Oberon even more sinister. The London Symphony play excellently, with fine trumpet solos accompanying Puck's tumbling and wonderfully transparent and eerie string tone in the forest music. The recorded sound is wonderful, with excellent positioning of characters in their actions on stage. A truly magical recording.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On behalf of my fellow reviewers 7 Jun 2007
By Alwa - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Did previous reviewer, Ralph Moore, just call us Pretentious? Just because we say we like Britten's opera? As if Verdi's take on Shakespeare precludes a different approach. Or Mendelssohn's interpretation of fairies has defined them musically for all time. This is a wonderful opera full of beautiful and expressive music, brilliantly evocative and while tastes differ and it won't be to everyone's liking it is not "modish" in the least and it is certainly not "boring," "trivial," or "tuneless" to anyone with half an ear for such things. And no, just because you cannot find the pleasure in this music does not mean that other's who do are only pretending to do so. And no, mentioning "even Bartok" among those whose music you've heard and not subjected to an abusive diatribe does not qualify you as some sort of expert on "modern" music able to pass off your own prejudices and narrow views as unassailable truths. Anyhow, as 20th century composers go Britten must be considered among the conservatives and easily one of the best at writing a tune. (One wonders how much really modern music you've actually heard? I could play you some that would chip the enamel off your teeth! An aquired taste for sure). It is not profitable or necessary to compare Britten's take on Shakespeare to Verdi's or Berlioz' (though I think it stands up well to the comparison anyhow). Art is not a closed shop or a cornered market, it thrives on diversity and there is much to enjoy and always more to hear in this music if you really listen. Britten was one of the 20th century's great masters of operatic form but if he doesn't do anything for you that is your loss. But please, don't insult those of us who are too pretentious to know we shouldn't enjoy it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Britten:A Midsomer Night's Dream 19 July 2012
By Lyric - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Although I am familiar with many of Britten's works, this was new to me and, after the melodic incidental music of Mendelssohn, I was a little concerned at how I would react to Britten's opera. However while the work is definitely in Britten's style, it is delightful, has great humour and the superb cast makes for a quality performance. Having Britten himself conduct the performance, ensures that it's true to his conception of the opera. I recommend this to anyone wanting to enjoy both the Shakespeare and Britten's work.
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