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Songs by Britten, Finzi & Tippett CD


Price: £16.29 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Conductor: None
  • Composer: Benjamin Britten
  • Audio CD (21 Jan. 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B0007DBXH4
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 54,416 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Allegro non troppo - What, then, did I want...
2. Andante - To climb trees...
3. Allegro molto - To ride at noon...
4. Allegro piacevole - To lie on my back...
5. A Young Man's Exhortation
6. Ditty
7. Budmouth Dears
8. Her Temple
9. The Comet at Yell'ham
10. Shortening Days
11. The Sigh
12. Former Beauties
13. Transformations
14. The Dance Continued
15. A Riddle (The Earth)
16. A Laddie's Sang
17. Nightmare
18. Black Day
19. Bed-time
20. Slaughter
See all 33 tracks on this disc

Product Description

Britten : Who are these children ?, Sechs Hölderlin-Fragmente op.61, Um Mitternacht - G. Finzi : A Young Man's Exhortation, op.14 - Tippett : Boyhood's End / Mark Padmore, ténor - Roger Vignoles, piano

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 26 people found the following review helpful By DAVID BRYSON TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Mar. 2005
Format: Audio CD
It strikes me as being more than just possible that the producers of this disc are playing a rather naughty little game with some of their potential customers. On the frontispiece there is a languorous painting of unclad ephebes, plus the names of Britten and Tippett, and the words children, young man and boyhood in the titles of the works that follow. Under the circumstances it is the duty in fairness of an honest reviewer to start by pointing out that anyone hoping for Theocritean langours in the contemplation of beauteous youths is in for a bit of a disappointment.
Those whose quest is exclusively musical will find this issue a great deal more rewarding. The music is not everyday fare for one thing. It varies in quality from moderately tolerable to startlingly brilliant in my own assessment, but it is all interesting at the very least. Just as interesting is the series of texts the music is set to, the best music in my own opinion going to the best words. The Tippett number is actually prose, a set of four sequences from the writings of the 19th-20th century naturalist William Henry Hudson under the collective title 'Boyhood's End'. A glance through Hudson's oeuvre doesn't suggest erotica in general - 'Seagulls in London' and 'The Famous Missions of California' are fairly representative titles. I must say, on the other hand, that the tone of the prose here, purportedly about an adolescent's awakening to nature, is more than a little febrile and it would be reasonable to suppose that more is meant than meets the eye. Finzi is represented by a 10-item song cycle to poems by Hardy, but the best poems (not counting those in German) are the 12 by the Scottish poet William Soutar (1898-1943) set dazzlingly to music by Britten. Soutar alternates between broad Scots and standard English.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
BE CLEAR WHAT TO EXPECT 23 Mar. 2005
By DAVID BRYSON - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It strikes me as being more than just possible that the producers of this disc are playing a rather naughty little game with some of their potential customers. On the frontispiece there is a languorous painting of unclad ephebes, plus the names of Britten and Tippett, and the words children, young man and boyhood in the titles of the works that follow. Under the circumstances it is the duty in fairness of an honest reviewer to start by pointing out that anyone hoping for Theocritean langours in the contemplation of beauteous youths is in for a bit of a disappointment.

Those whose quest is exclusively musical will find this issue a great deal more rewarding. The music is not everyday fare for one thing. It varies in quality from moderately tolerable to startlingly brilliant in my own assessment, but it is all interesting at the very least. Just as interesting is the series of texts the music is set to, the best music in my own opinion going to the best words. The Tippett number is actually prose, a set of four sequences from the writings of the 19th-20th century naturalist William Henry Hudson under the collective title `Boyhood's End'. A glance through Hudson's oeuvre doesn't suggest erotica in general - `Seagulls in London' and `The Famous Missions of California' are fairly representative titles. I must say, on the other hand, that the tone of the prose here, purportedly about an adolescent's awakening to nature, is more than a little febrile and it would be reasonable to suppose that more is meant than meets the eye. Finzi is represented by a 10-item song cycle to poems by Hardy, but the best poems (not counting those in German) are the 12 by the Scottish poet William Soutar (1898-1943) set dazzlingly to music by Britten. Soutar alternates between broad Scots and standard English. In the Scots numbers he recaptures for me the authentic tone of the old Scots ballads, the kind of poetry that Britten also set memorably in one piece from his serenade for tenor horn and strings. The plain-English poems are vivid protests against war taking its effects on children as their grisly theme, and the appeal of such poetry to Britten will surprise nobody. The concluding Britten numbers are actually settings of Hoelderlin, probably best known to English-speaking music lovers as the author of the problematical text of Brahms's Schicksalslied, plus one setting of Goethe. In one of these poems, Socrates and Alcibiades, there is a remote and cold reference to admiration for the beauty of a youth, and that is as near as any text here comes to that theme.

There is a very interesting essay with the disc by Roger Vignoles himself. Obviously everything he says commands respect, but to me it suffers a little from Britishness - it's a kind of caucus-race with prizes for everyone, smoothing out the partiality shown by the Creator and anticipating the equality that only exists in the mortuary. The attempt to find a linking motif of the passage of time doesn't convince me either - you could link these texts with anyone's diaries on that basis or with any old work of history or chronicling. To my ears, what this essay doesn't point out is what is what I find glaringly obvious, namely that Britten is a great composer and the other two are not. The Britten numbers come last on the disc, and the contrast, for me, with the well-bred but weak-tea Finzi is mortifying. I'm not a great enthusiast for Hardy, but I can recognise his significance and I find it reproduced only fitfully in these settings. In particular the composer seems awkwardly aware of his own mildness, and in two or three cases cranks up great emphatic concluding fortes to texts that don't appear to call for anything of the kind. If you were reciting, for instance, `Shortening Days' would you raise your voice and yell at the top of your lungs `His mill and tubs and vat and press'? I'm quite sure you would sooner die than do anything so foolish, so why should a musician do so either?

The performances are in general excellent, and the recording is fine too. Padmore's Scottish pronunciation is slightly hit-and-miss, but I rather like his odd mezzo-tenor timbre. The artists show what seems to me real understanding and penetration of the music they are dealing with, and the intrinsic interest of having it collected together in this intelligent and sensitive way does not dispose me to be fault-finding.The word that sums up this disc is `interesting', genuinely very interesting; and the Britten numbers are more than just that.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Another of Sir Benjamin Britten's Powerful Pacifist Works 28 Jun. 2005
By Grady Harp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Benjamin Britten was not only one of England's finest composers demonstrated by his continuing legacy of masterworks including operas 'Peter Grimes', 'Billy Budd', 'Death in Venice', 'Turn of the Screw', 'Midsummer Night's Dream', 'Albert Herring' et at, orchestral works including 'Spring Symphony', parables for small church ensembles like 'The Burning Fiery Furnace', song cycles 'Les Illuminations', 'Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings', 'Nocturne': Britten was an avowed Pacifist who loathed war and the inhumanity of WW II especially. While we all know his powerful 'War Requiem', few know about this wondrous song cycle 'Who Are These Children/'. This excellent recording introduces this important work to us along with being the first solo recital by gifted tenor Mark Padmore, here collaborating with pianist Roger Vignoles.

The brilliance of 'Who Are These Children?' lies not only in the creative musical writing but also in Britten's choice of text - Scottish poet William Soutar's children's verses written in the Scottish dialect. Britten begins the cycle with the innocence of children's play songs and weaves these together with poems of terror and violence of children watching adults ride off to hunt foxes during a time of war. The dichotomy between childhood innocence and adult delusion is staggeringly effective and Padmore captures the innocence and the ever-darkening overlay of war superbly.

The other works included in this refreshingly new recital include Britten's 'Sechs Holderlin-Fragmente', a passable little cycle by Gerald Finzi of ten songs based on the poetry of Thomas Hardy, and a rarely heard performance of a work Britten commissioned from Sir Michael Tippett for Peter Pears and himself to perform - 'Boyhood's End', a work like so many of Tippett's that doesn't quite gel.

But in all of these remarkably difficult works Mark Padmore proves a sensitive artist of voice and of textual accuracy. Roger Vignoles provides his usual standard of superb collaboration. This CD is a must for those who love Britten's music and for audiences eager for 'new repertoire'. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, June 05
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
a voice teacher and early music fan 5 Aug. 2006
By George Peabody - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
VERY UNIQUE GROUP OF COMPOSERS ON THIS ALBUM AND ALL PUT TOGETHER SKILLFULLY BY MARK PADMORE.

Michael Tippett was commisioned to write a piece for the return of Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten from the USA in 1943. He chose a prose text and cast 'Boyhood's End' in the form of a Purcellian cantata,with four consecutive sections of strongly contrasted tempo and mood.

The art of Gerald Finzi may seem modest in comparison to that of strong personalities like Tippet and Britten, but in the case of his setting of Thomas Hardy in 'A Young Man's Exhortation', he achieved the kind of symbiotic relationsbhip between music and words that is only found in the greatest of song composers-Schumann and Heine. Composed in 1933,'A Young Man's Exhortation' contains some of Finzi's most beautifully lyrical writing.

Each of Britten's song cycles is the product of careful planning, both in the choice of texts and in the way he seems to evolve a special musical language to correspond to a particular poet. And 'Who Are These Children' exemplifies this skill. The Holderlin songs make up Britten's only cycle in the German language. However, there are indications that Britten had marked several other Goethe poems for composition.

My interest, when purchasing this disc, was in Mark Padmore and how he interpreted the music of Britten; and I would say very well indeed! The nuances and espression were all there, as was the excellent diction. I think one of Padmore's greatest skills is being able to adjust the tone quality and intensity of his vocal sound to the demands of the composer. I was particularly delighted by the music of Gerald Finzi of which I knew very little. His "A Young Man's Exhortation" was charming;especially "Ditty" and "Budmouth Dears". The Britten pieces were as usual intricate, cohesive and sometimes disturbing; especially the German set of pieces. All in all it's a great recording,,but not one for relaxing!!!
This man's exhortation 12 Dec. 2008
By Tom Lawrence - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
It was Benjamin Britten's name that drew me to this disc, but it was my unexpected delight in Gerald Finzi's opus 14 that brought me back. Where Britten's songs are angular and spiky, the ten songs of A Young Man's Exhortation have an easy lyricism and a winning nostalgia. The poems by Thomas Hardy evoke a pre-World War I idealism, but Finzi's music shows an awareness of innocence lost. Mark Padmore and Roger Vignoles capture this bitter-sweetness and transport the listener back to a bygone era.
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