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8 Reviews
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and revealing recording, 27 July 2009
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The original performers of Serenade re-unite to perform again, with the maturity and insight gained into the work that ten years of performances had provided. Brain and Pears are on fine form here, and the performance is more settled and revealing than the first recording of the piece. Despite Britten not conducting this performance, his oversight of the recording ensure that the piece is performed as he conceived it, albeit with the original rather extreme tempo markings ignored (as Britten himself would do later.)
The other recordings on this disc are if not as historically important, equally well performed and recorded.
Recommended to all Britten fans.

NB This review is for the Decca label Serenade and Illuminations, both with Peter Pears, Dennis Brain and conducted by Eugene Goosens in November 1953. The Nocturne recording is Pears, Barry Tuckwell and conducted by Britten, in September 1959.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb, 25 April 2010
By 
enthusiast "enthusiast" (sussex, uk) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This is a must have record!

Firstly, the three pieces here - if you don't know them - are essential and central masterpieces of Britten's and even alone they could stand to declare him to be one of the greatest (if not the greatest) 20th century composer (but of course he wrote many other masterpieces as well). Song cycles made up of settings of great poetry from earlier ages play an especially important part in his output. Through his settings we hear great poetry through his ears and are further educated in their beauty and power to move. The Serenade is perhaps the most popular and well-known of the three and is perhaps the greatest piece in the solo horn repertoire. It is extraordinarily powerful and still sounds thoroughly contemporary as well as being entirely approachable, memorable, hum-able .. . Les Illuminations - settings of Rimbaud - is equally striking: it is exhilerating and astingent and ... fresh. The Nocturne is less famous and perhaps the least of the three but it is full of marvelous things and the sound world of A Midsummer Night's Dream, the opera he was working on at the time of its composition.

The performances are definitive - thrilling, beautiful, affecting - with Peter Pears in fine voice (and what a wonderful tenor he was!) and Barry Tuckwell's wonderful and never bettered account of the horn part amongst other delights. Britten was a very notable conductor and a brilliant exponent of his own work - so brilliant, one suspects, that conductors might fear to follow him. The sound is excellent. If you only buy one Britten disk make it this one!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Both clasic and historic, 22 Jan 2013
By 
N. E. M. Goulder (Saffron Walden, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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These three haunting works have long been admired. Indeed they were key to establishing Britten's global reputation, and for good reason: his skill at setting words to music stands above that of pretty well any other 20th century composer. The pieces also provide a fascinating insight into the Britten-Pears relationship. Here we get the extraordinary chance to listen to this, both for the works in themselves as compositions and for the interaction of composer as conductor and muse as tenor.
Picky buyers may pause at the thought that the sound quality here is not as pristine as other versions recorded more recently, but nobody will ever match the authenticity of Pears himself singing music so completely written for him.
This disc should be a must, for it is both a historic and a classic recording.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Britten's serenade for horn, strings and tenor, 16 Dec 2012
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Most wonderful! The poetry is classic and the settings are and will remain universal. Pears is perfection. Go for it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful performance of wonderful music, 6 Jun 2013
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This has to be "the" recording of Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and strings. It brings back many memories for me from when I used to listen to the original LP as a teenager.
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5.0 out of 5 stars British Music at it's best, 28 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Britten: Serenade for tenor, horn & strings; Les Illuminations; Nocturne (MP3 Download)
I have both versions by Peers and Britten. One with Tuckwell and this one, I love them both. These pieces of music introduced me to Britten and I've never looked back. Absolutely wonderful even though the recording is less than perfect the atmosphere more than makes up for it.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wondreful cd., 5 Sep 2001
By A Customer
A wonderful cd, specially for the excellent intervencion of Peter Pears in a great artistic and vocal state. Pears was a tenor without a magnificence voice but for this repertoire his refined manners and musicallity are in common sense with the the Britten works, and not properly with the vocal line ,specially designed for him, than with his spirit. Pears and Brtitten, had been a good partneships with this too.Perhaps Pears sings more brilliant than Brittten conducts. One cd that I have no doubt to recommend. The recording was made around 50 years ago, but we can understand everithing.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars greatest recording ofcourse, 11 Oct 2014
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fabulous and so interesting...greatest recording ofcourse....
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Britten: Serenade for tenor, horn & strings; Les Illuminations; Nocturne
Britten: Serenade for tenor, horn & strings; Les Illuminations; Nocturne by Dennis Brain and Eugene Goossens and New Symphony Orchestra London and Sir Peter Pears
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