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  • Britten: Curlew River
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Britten: Curlew River

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Britten: Curlew River + Britten: Noye's Fludde, The Golden Vanity
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Product details

  • Performer: Sir Peter Pears, John Shirley-Quirk
  • Orchestra: English Opera Group
  • Conductor: Benjamin Britten
  • Composer: Benjamin Britten
  • Audio CD (7 Jun. 1989)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: London
  • ASIN: B00000INXR
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 106,173 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "Te lúcis ante términum"English Opera Group Orchestra 7:21£1.09  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "I am the ferryman"English Opera Group Orchestra 3:08£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "I come from the Westland"English Opera Group Orchestra 4:36£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "But first may I ask you"English Opera Group Orchestra 2:41£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "Clear as a sky without a cloud"English Opera Group Orchestra 2:22£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "Near the Black Mountains there I dwelt"English Opera Group Orchestra 2:18£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "A thousand leagues may sunder"English Opera Group Orchestra 3:19£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "Ignorant man!"English Opera Group Orchestra 2:10£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "I beg your pardon, living in this famous place"English Opera Group Orchestra 4:52£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "Curlew River, smoothly flowing"English Opera Group Orchestra 2:14£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "Today is an important day"English Opera Group Orchestra 5:32£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "Look! While you were listening to my story"English Opera Group Orchestra 2:44£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen13. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "Ferryman, tell me, when did it happen"English Opera Group Orchestra 6:22£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen14. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "Hoping, I wander'd on"English Opera Group Orchestra 3:32£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen15. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "He whose life was full of promise"English Opera Group Orchestra 2:21£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen16. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "The moon has risen"English Opera Group Orchestra 5:55£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen17. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "Go your way in peace, mother"English Opera Group Orchestra 2:29£0.79  Buy MP3 
Listen18. Britten: Curlew River, Op.71 - "Good souls, we have shown you here"English Opera Group Orchestra 5:13£0.79  Buy MP3 

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. Brown on 18 Aug. 2008
Format: Audio CD
Brilliant - because this performance of Curlew River draws you in and makes you 'feel' the drama. Curious - because if you follow Britten's score, you discover that in a couple of places this performance (directed by Britten himself) departs from the score in terms of timing ... if one reads the score literally. I don't doubt that Britten knew exactly what he wanted - we are after all talking about a man who could compose an opera in his head and then write it down faster than I can even transcribe a score manually, so I take my hat off to him. It's just that this is about the only example I know of a recording of a Britten work, directed by the composer, in which what I hear doesn't quite match up with what I see in the score. HOWEVER don't let this put you off buying this recording. It is glorious. 'Curlew River' is far from being an easy work to appreciate, but many years ago I played this performance (in its previous incarnation on vinyl LP) to some friends who were unfamiliar with both this work and with Britten's music in general: and they were enthralled by it.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By London on 7 July 2003
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This piece of music, inspired by a Japanese Noh play, is a stunning piece, and well worth adding to your collection. Beautiful singing in a beautifully produced cd - buy it now
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jacques COULARDEAU on 11 Sept. 2011
Format: Audio CD
Brilliant Gregorian beginning in the sonority of a medieval church we can imagine Romanesque. And we are transported to an eternal time that has to be out of time.

We are introduced to the abandoned and the weak on the side of the road and God lifting them up, giving them some life back. God is with the dejected and rejected. The Curlew River becomes the divide between this world and another more humane world and the Ferryman is the Go-Between that takes you to the other side of your soul.

A rite is to be performed for the first anniversary of a burial on the other side of the river, a grave that is a curing place for the sick. The ferryman is going to bring the people to that shrine. The trumpet of the ferryman is like the trumpet of Jericho: crossing the river is like bringing down the wall that hides the unknown.

The harp brings the traveler evoking some mermaid, some voyage, from far behind to far ahead, from the remembered to the unknown, then a change occurs and is announced by the music.

The mad woman is introduced as crazy and having made people laugh with her raving. Her discourse is incoherent, she asks for passage as well as for passage to be refused to her. The reedy sound at that time shows that uncertainty, more than craziness. She is distracted by the loss of her child she is looking for and she sees and loses at the same time. Her discourse is incongruent and the music plays on these notes going up and then down as if hesitating to follow one way and only one.

She explains her son was stolen from her by a stranger and taken east. This dramatic event has made her mind unclear and fuzzy, which is expressed by the last syllable of the first lines going up and then systematically turning down. Is there still some hope?
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