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Britten: The Rape of Lucretia

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Biography

Benjamin Britten was born in Lowestoft, Suffolk, in 1913. Although he was already composing vigorously as a child, he nonetheless felt the importance of some solid guidance and in 1928 turned to the composer Frank Bridge; two years later he went to the Royal College of Music in London, studying with Arthur Benjamin, Harold Samuel and John Ireland. While still a student, he wrote his ... Read more in Amazon's Benjamin Britten Store

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Aldeburgh Festival Ensemble
  • Conductor: Oliver Knussen
  • Composer: Benjamin Britten
  • Audio CD (14 Jan. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B00A3NVB4S
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 32,012 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
  1. Rape of Lucretia, Act I, Scene I: Rome is now ruled by the Etruscan upstartAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Ian Bostridge 2:29£0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Rape of Lucretia, Act I, Scene I: It is an axiom among kingsAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Ian Bostridge/Susan Gritton 2:28£0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Rape of Lucretia, Act I, Scene I: Here the thirsty evening has drunk the wine of lightAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Ian Bostridge 2:34£0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Rape of Lucretia, Act I, Scene I: Who reaches heaven first is the best philosopherAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Christopher Purves/Benjamin Russell/Peter Coleman-Wright/Ian Bostridge 2:23£0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Rape of Lucretia, Act I, Scene I: Maria was unmasked at a masked ballAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Christopher Purves/Benjamin Russell/Peter Coleman-Wright/Ian Bostridge 4:23£0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Rape of Lucretia, Act I, Scene I: Collatinus is politically astuteAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Christopher Purves/Benjamin Russell/Peter Coleman-Wright/Ian Bostridge 4:14£0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Rape of Lucretia, Act I, Scene I: Goodnight!....There goes a happy man!Aldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Christopher Purves/Benjamin Russell/Peter Coleman-Wright 3:59£0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Rape of Lucretia, Act I, Scene I: Tarquinius does not dareAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Ian Bostridge 2:14£0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Rape of Lucretia, Act I, Scene I: My horse! My horse! - Interlude: Tarquinius does not waitAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Peter Coleman-Wright/Ian Bostridge 2:58£0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Rape of Lucretia, Act I, Scene II: Their spinning wheel unwindsAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Susan Gritton/Angelika Kirchschlager/Hilary Summers/Claire Booth 5:21£0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Rape of Lucretia, Act I, Scene II: Listen! I heard a knockAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Angelika Kirchschlager/Hilary Summers/Claire Booth 2:46£0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Rape of Lucretia, Act I, Scene II: Ah... Time treads upon the hands of womenAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Susan Gritton/Angelika Kirchschlager/Hilary Summers/Claire Booth 3:26£0.99  Buy MP3 
13. Rape of Lucretia, Act I, Scene II: The oatmeal slippers of sleepAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Susan Gritton/Ian Bostridge 1:50£0.99  Buy MP3 
14. Rape of Lucretia, Act I, Scene II: Lucia runs to the doorAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Susan Gritton/Angelika Kirchschlager/Hilary Summers/Claire Booth/Ian Bostridge/Peter Coleman-Wright 5:21£0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. Rape of Lucretia, Act II, Scene I: The prosperity of the Etruscans was dueAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Susan Gritton/Ian Bostridge/Christopher Purves/Claire Booth/Benjamin Russell/Angelika Kirchschlager 7:28£0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Rape of Lucretia, Act II, Scene I: She sleeps as a rose upon the nightAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Susan Gritton 2:59£0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Rape of Lucretia, Act II, Scene I: When Tarquinius desiresAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Ian Bostridge 2:11£0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Rape of Lucretia, Act II, Scene I: Within this frail crucible of lightAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Susan Gritton/Peter Coleman-Wright 4:01£0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. Rape of Lucretia, Act II, Scene I: Lucretia!...What do you want?Aldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Susan Gritton/Ian Bostridge/Peter Coleman-Wright/Angelika Kirchschlager 5:47£0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. Rape of Lucretia, Act II, Scene I: Interlude: Here in this scene you seeAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Susan Gritton/Oliver Knussen/Ian Bostridge 3:51£0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Rape of Lucretia, Act II, Scene II: Oh! What a lovely day!Aldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Claire Booth/Hilary Summers 5:55£0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Rape of Lucretia, Act II, Scene II: Good morning, my ladyAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Claire Booth/Hilary Summers/Angelika Kirchschlager 3:27£0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. Rape of Lucretia, Act II, Scene II: Flowers bring to every yearAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Hilary Summers/Angelika Kirchschlager 3:18£0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Rape of Lucretia, Act II, Scene II: You were right. Tarquinius took one of the horsesAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Claire Booth/Hilary Summers/Christopher Purves/Benjamin Russell 2:39£0.99  Buy MP3 
11. Rape of Lucretia, Act II, Scene II: Lucretia! O, never again must we two dare to partAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Angelika Kirchschlager/Christopher Purves 4:50£0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Rape of Lucretia, Act II, Scene II: Last night Tarquinius ravished meAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Angelika Kirchschlager/Christopher Purves 3:28£0.99  Buy MP3 
13. Rape of Lucretia, Act II, Scene II: This dead hand lets fallAldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Claire Booth/Hilary Summers/Christopher Purves/Benjamin Russell/Susan Gritton/Ian Bostridge 3:57£0.99  Buy MP3 
14. Rape of Lucretia, Act II, Scene II: Epilogue: Is it all?Aldeburgh Festival Ensemble/Oliver Knussen/Susan Gritton/Ian Bostridge 5:11£0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

Product Description

Recorded live in 2011 at the Aldeburgh Festival, this performance of his dark, intense chamber opera The Rape of Lucretia stars Angelika Kirchschlager, Peter Coleman-Wright and Ian Bostridge, with Oliver Knussen conducting. 'Everything, without exception, was right on the money,' said The Guardian,' ... a dazzling success.'

BBC Review

2013 sees the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten. Doubtless many new recordings will emerge as part of the celebrations – and the bar is set very high with this Virgin Classics release of one of his less-familiar operas.

There are a number of reasons why The Rape of Lucretia, premiered in 1946, is relatively unloved – its grim subject matter, concerning the rape of a Roman general’s wife by their ruler Prince, and her subsequent suicide, probably being the foremost.

Another is its modest scale, employing a chamber ensemble rather than a lavish symphony orchestra. And, although the opera directly follows the widely appealing Peter Grimes in the canon of Britten’s operas, the musical style of Lucretia is more demanding, foreshadowing the oblique angularity of his late works.

But none of these potential difficulties are given a chance in this dramatically gripping account, recorded at concert performance at the Snape Maltings in Aldeburgh in 2011.

Oliver Knussen conducts a crack ensemble of instrumentalists, who have as vital a role as the cast. They fulfil it with vitality and total commitment – from gently caressing harp solos to passages of full-blooded orchestral power.

The singers, too, are first rate. Ian Bostridge and Susan Gritton play the storytelling Chorus with impassioned incisiveness, conveying the potentially dry prose with vivid theatricality and, at times, welcome wryness.

Angelika Kirchschlager gives a subtle, wonderfully lyrical portrayal of the title role, encompassing Lucretia's honest fidelity, vulnerability, torment and self-destructive anguish with moving conviction.

There are strong performances too from Christopher Purves as Lucretia's husband Collatinus and Peter Coleman-Wright's lust-obsessed Prince Tarquinius; the smaller roles also impress.

Although the story's brutality inevitably means that any performance of Lucretia is uncomfortable, Knussen and company ensure that Britten's score shines in a radiantly positive light, offsetting the skin-crawling nastiness with musical beauty – finely captured with excellent balance in the warm, clear Maltings acoustic.

The composer's own 1970 Decca recording has a unique authenticity and, in Janet Baker, a peerlessly expressive Lucretia. But this latest version complements it brilliantly, offering a thoroughly engrossing and deeply affecting experience that ought to win the opera many new admirers.

--Graham Rogers

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By The Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 30 Jan. 2013
Format: Audio CD
Oliver Knussen's account of 'The Rape Of Lucretia' recorded live in Snape
Maltings at last year's Aldeburgh Festival arrives in time to celebrate
Benjamin Britten's centenary. Never the easiest of his operas to aproach, not
least of all because of its horrifying narrative (the defilement of Collatinus'
wife Lucretia by the Roman ruler's son Tarquinius) but also for its angular,
abrasive musical style. The piece has far more in common with the Modernist
European tradition of composition than other works in Britten's operatic cannon.

Under Mr Knussen's baton The Aldeburgh Festival Ensemble, chorus and soloists
deliver a consummate performance. Ian Bostridge (a worthy heir to Peter Pear's
unimpeachable legacy) and Susan Gritton sing the male and female chorus parts
impeccably; Peter Coleman-Wright's Tarqinious is the embodiment of unthinking evil and
Angelika Kirschlager as Lucretia in her Act II, Scene I and (especially) Act II, Scene II
duets, with Tarquinius and Collatinus repectively, are terrifying and heartrending in
equal measure. The band is on top form, enhanced by The Maltings' warm ambience.

Not an easy listen but the sense of raw, unspeakable tension is palpable.

Highly Recommended.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. Young on 29 Mar. 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Beautiful clear recording of a very difficult work. The singing is crystal clear with great diction, rare with opera singers, a calm inexorable pace. Far better than the original, Peter Pears recording.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ron Wates on 5 Mar. 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
An excellent recording of one of the most important works of Britten.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Hamel on 13 Jun. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Knussen is a very very good conductor (may be not a good composer) and this opera is highlighted here as rarely
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