on 7 February 2007
A further instalment in Decca's re-release of Britten conducting his own work. This box set covers orchestral performances and song cycles and the performances are unique; Britten was the definitive conductor of his own work and one of the best accompanists of all time. The partnership between Britten and Pears in the tenor song cycles is almost psychic but there are good things here from Dietrich Fischer Dieskau too. Amazon offer this 7CD set at exceptional value - I paid about [...] a disc. And - put out the flags - the accompanying booklet contains the words of the songs and translations, unlike the previous volumes in this set.
on 3 April 2009
Another stunning compendium and excellent value. Both this and the volume 3 bring together the original recordings of so much of Britten's output. Much of this material is scarcely performed these days, let alone recorded and yet these recordings still sound as fresh as the day that they were made under the composer's baton. Although, to some these recordings may sound a litle dated but I found them refreshingly pure without the technical wizardry. The piano and violin concerti with their Russian style and the cello concerto (performed by Rostropovich) are just amazing.
For lovers of the Pears-Britten musical partnership, these 2 boxed sets are a must-have!
For myself,I don't care particularly for the choral work,so would count Operas vol 1,2,and this set as indispensible.In this 100 anniversary year for Britten,Decca will be putting out a ltd,3,000 only,complete works 65cd box set,not only Decca,but licensing material from other companies.Personally,I would rather have the material Ben conducted either himself,or supervised.The ltd ed is cheaper,pound for pound,and contains interviews,rehearsal sequences,and music that is of (in my opinion)some lesser significance.I'm more than happy to have the "Britten conducts" boxes,and play these a lot,whereas the 65 cd box is a bit too much,I'd never get around to it,or if I did,would probably only play it once...so in this case,for me,the adage less is more applies.