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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous historical document!, 7 Oct 2012
This review is from: Mozart/ Britten/ Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 40/ Nocturne/ Symphony No. 3 Extracts (Peter Pears/ English Chamber Orchestra/ Benjamin Britten) (ICA Classics: ICAD 5083) [DVD] [2012] [NTSC] (DVD)
The current product description on Amazon, which describes ballets, is incorrect. I am writing about the Benjamin Britten/Peter Pears DVD.

This has three filmed concerts, the Mozart and the Britten Nocturne from Croyden in 1964, and the Mendelssohn excerpts from Snape Maltings in 1970. Only the Mendelssohn is in colour. Both picture and sound quality (though efficiently enhanced) are naturally less than perfect, but it remains a magical historical document, particularly because these were live concerts. We see a great composer in action, and a great singer as well in the Nocturne.

Britten's conducting style is spare and undemonstrative, but supremely musical. Pears is also restrained in some ways. He stands still and doesn't gesticulate. All the expression - and there is plenty - comes from the voice. Modern singers could learn a lot! His singing of Britten's Nocturne is superb, his breath control phenomenal, his articulation clear.

It is quite wonderful to see these two great musicians (partners in life as well as music) together like this, and also to see the ECO at those times. There is some beautiful obbligato playing in the Britten piece.

There are notes by Paul Kildea, but no texts for the Britten. I suppose for that reason and the sound/picture quality I should have given it fewer stars, but to me it is definitely worth five!
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