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Britten: Billy Budd/The Holy Sonnets of John Donne etc.
 
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Britten: Billy Budd/The Holy Sonnets of John Donne etc.

12 Feb 2014 | Format: MP3

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Song Title Artist
Time
Popularity  
30
1
3:18
30
2
1:19
30
3
3:00
30
4
1:07
30
5
2:47
30
6
3:26
30
7
2:33
30
8
1:30
30
9
3:55
30
10
3:06
30
11
2:50
30
12
4:28
30
13
2:34
30
14
2:48
30
15
4:15
30
16
3:28
30
17
5:01
30
18
6:59
30
19
3:16
30
20
2:24
30
21
2:41
30
22
2:34
Disc 2
30
1
3:37
30
2
3:37
30
3
1:25
30
4
1:14
30
5
2:19
30
6
3:45
30
7
5:31
30
8
1:05
30
9
6:51
30
10
2:38
30
11
3:37
30
12
2:58
30
13
6:47
30
14
4:42
30
15
4:04
30
16
4:43
Disc 3
30
1
2:16
30
2
1:06
30
3
3:23
30
4
7:46
30
5
4:48
30
6
4:14
30
7
3:31
30
8
3:22
30
9
2:12
30
10
1:33
30
11
5:32
30
12
4:21
30
13
5:31
30
14
5:35
30
15
4:01
30
16
4:35
30
17
3:06
30
18
1:50
30
19
2:21
30
20
4:38


Product details

  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Label: Decca Music Group Ltd.
  • Copyright: (C) 1989 Decca Music Group Limited
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 3:23:53
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B005K1OXM0
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 157,503 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Klingsor Tristan VINE VOICE on 30 Aug 2006
Format: Audio CD
When you look at all the operatic roles that Britten created for his lifelong partner in life and music (something in every opera except Noye), the first thing that becomes clear is how well he understood Peter Pears' voice and musical talents. The vocal lines fit the voice perfectly, utilising all its strengths and usually avoiding its weaknesses. When you look at the characters he asked Pears to play, however, a rather different picture emerges. As a performer, Pears comes across as rather refined, sophisticated, something of an aesthete, a bit of an intellectual. So, while he makes a good fist of Peter Grimes, it is Grimes the dreamer that tends to stay in the memory: the tough, violent, naļve fisherman is more Jon Vickers territory. The innocent Albert Herring, the impetuous Essex and the impassioned Lysander (though Flute was his original part) really don't work very well as characters with Pears. And, while no-one sings the trance-inducing melismas of Quint quite like him, do we really believe he is the incarnation of corrupting evil? The Male Chorus in Lucretia fares better because he is just an observer with little personality of his own. And Pears' roles in the Church Parables are sufficiently distanced by the Brechtian/Noh ritual of the pieces to allow him to view these characters more objectively.

The two parts that work best for Pears are Aschenbach, the composer's final gift to his lover, and Captain Vere in Billy Budd. Certainly Vere is something of an intellectual and an aesthete: he is a reader of Plutarch, a man somewhat out of touch with the rough sentiments of his subordinate officers, prone to using classical references they don't understand.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bacchus TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 Aug 2012
Format: Audio CD
My failure to get to know the story of Billy Budd and to learn Britten's opera of the story until well into middle age are things I regret. I knew of the story because of the opera and recall that we studied it at school when I was 12 but at the time my mind was elsewhere and I did not take in any of the story or the background.

I think it worthwhile just learning the background to the story. It is set in the late 18th century during the Napoleonic wars and concerns the fate of Billy Budd, a sailor pressed into service onto the HMS Indomitable. Unlike other impressed men, he is able bodied and skilled at sailing and appears to love his work. He is beset by two flaws, first, at times of stress he develops a stammer and cannot express himself verbally and second he has an overly trusting good nature. On board ship he incites the jealousy of Claggart, the master at arms, who bullies weaker sailors with threats of flogging and is instrumental in Budd's downfall.

This historical background is fascinating. Budd's previous ship was called The Rights of Man and he sings in praise of this ship on his first day as a sailor, which some of the officers find disturbing. The Rights of Man is the name of a pamphlet by Thomas Paine which sets out the complete illogicality of the concept of monarchy and supports the French Revolution that saw the execution of the French king. For anyone in authority in England, such notions would be very dangerous, especially now that England was at war with France. Furthermore, the ship would have been crewed by people pressed into service, who had not willingly chosen to be sailors at all, facing extremely low pay paid long in arrears, bad food and brutal treatment.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Denis Kemp on 6 Dec 2009
Format: Audio CD
I have had this recording, on vinyl, for over 35 years. Needless to say it is not in the best of condition and, while I haven't scrapped it, I have added other versions to my collection. So far, however, this is still my favorite interpretation, though, as the opera gains in international recognition and as recordings multiply, I must admit there are some I have not yet heard.
The two reviews already posted here I find very well informed, well presented and insightful. It was a pleasure to read them. I can add little to what they say, but perhaps one tragedy has been overlooked: that of the Master at Arms, John Claggart. Of course he is the villain, a bully, a despot, a tyrant, in all a nasty piece of work; I don't want to excuse him, but his Iago-like monologue shows his hatred of himself just as it shows his hatred/envy/twisted feelings for Billy. This is presumably because of his suppresed homosexual desire for him, but perhaps envy for a happy good looking popular guy, something Claggart can never be. His choice to destory Billy is unforgiveable, and he pays the price, while Billy suffers through no fault of his own. What made Claggart so abusive?. Why is his successful career such a problem to him? Is his brutality (the novice) just his job? His is a sad story too. No excuses, but sad.
And does the music reflect that? The dark brass rumblings express the evil, but in the monologue? perhaps?
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Sep 2005
Format: Audio CD
The strained economic situation of the classical music industry is working in many ways to our advantage as consumers. Britten's settings of Blake and Donne would never have been issued bundled together with Billy Budd in the vinyl era I'm quite sure. These days if we don't think one follows on from the other we don't have to get out of our armchair to select them as we please, and the composer's accounts of his own songs in partnership with Pears and Fischer-Dieskau would surely be a welcome supplement to more or less any classical cd release.
However I imagine the public for this set will consist mostly of enthusiasts for Britten's great masterpiece Billy Budd. This is music-drama, not opera, and the theme of the drama has a certain ambiguity of a kind that Britten was drawn to, as in the unresolved questions left at the end of The Turn of the Screw. The story is adapted by E M Forster and Eric Crozier from Melville. Melville's inspiration in turn was sparked off by the reportage on a court of enquiry into the execution of an ordinary seaman for mutiny. The captain who had so ordered had been advised that the evidence against the seaman was thin. Perceiving nonetheless a need to encourage the others by executing someone, the captain prevailed on the trial officers to take a more forward-leaning view. This they duly did, the captain explained to the man about to be hanged that this was all for the greater glory of the flag, whereupon the man blessed captain and flag.
The story of Billy Budd quite obviously had powerful resonance for Forster and Britten. It is a chamber drama basically, for all the background of war at sea between Britain and revolutionary France. There are three main actors - Billy himself, the captain, and the master-at-arms John Claggart.
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