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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a riveting release for the Britten anniversary
The diction of the singers is quite stunning and it is rare to hear the words with such clarity . There is a tremendous feeling of a genuine ensemble working here and Bedford's pacing throughout always seems perfectly judged.
Published 21 months ago by Mr. Gordon Armour

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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars From Snape to CD
The Aldeburgh Festival's production of Peter Grimes on the beach will doubtless go down as one of the events of 2013. I sadly missed the chance to catch the produced, though a film has been created, to be released in cinemas on 5 September, and a recording was made at the preliminary concert performances in Snape Maltings. The results are now available on CD. Yet whatever...
Published 21 months ago by Entartete Musik


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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars From Snape to CD, 18 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Britten: Peter Grimes (Grimes on the Beach - Aldeburgh Festival) (Audio CD)
The Aldeburgh Festival's production of Peter Grimes on the beach will doubtless go down as one of the events of 2013. I sadly missed the chance to catch the produced, though a film has been created, to be released in cinemas on 5 September, and a recording was made at the preliminary concert performances in Snape Maltings. The results are now available on CD. Yet whatever euphoria emerged from the event itself, the musical evidence is less convincing.

Peter Grimes has an enviable discography with remarkable interpreters, such as the unidiomatic but thrilling Jon Vickers under Colin Davis, the poetic Anthony Rolfe-Johnson under Bernard Haitink or the exemplary Philip Langridge under Richard Hickox, to say nothing of Pears and Britten's own invaluable performance. For this latest addition to the roster, Steuart Bedford conducts a cast with Alan Oke in the title role. Oke is a superb stage presence, most recently in Lulu at WNO and Anna Nicole at Covent Garden. This is his first Grimes. Although infinitely suited to the role theatrically, there are distracting signs of vocal strain.

Oke's Grimes and Giselle Allen's full-voiced Ellen Orford seem surprising choices given Bedford's direct no nonsense approach to the score (aided by clear if bass-light production from Nick Parker's team). Bedford led the audio-accompanied performances on the beach and no doubt some of those practicalities influenced his precise interpretation (though Ned Keene's round slips its moorings). Throughout, however, the performance lacks the metaphorical and symphonic qualities of Davis and particularly Haitink. There is ferocity to Bedford's Storm and Passacaglia, for instance, but the impact feels very localised, lacking shape and consequence, with the drama consequently rendered episodic. Surely this opera is more than a moment-by-moment account.

Throughout, however, Bedford has a superb team of players and chorus to hand. The former are provided by the Britten-Pears Orchestra, who are suitably sure in their delivery of Britten's score. The chorus, taken from Opera North and the Guildhall, lend theatrical clout, which is echoed in the large cast's expert contributions. David Kempster is a superb Balstrode, balancing bluster and warm-heartedness, while Robert Murray's Bob Boles and Catherine Wyn-Rogers' Mrs Sedley particularly tell in the hurly burly.

Too often, though, I hankered for other recordings. This is not to doubt the genuine fervour of this year's Festival and the excitement of the performances on the beach. But now that the storm has died down and the musical results can be judged more level-headedly, I'm not sure this recording proves a major contribution to the Britten or Peter Grimes discography.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a riveting release for the Britten anniversary, 7 Aug. 2013
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Mr. Gordon Armour "BBCSO file" (greenock scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Britten: Peter Grimes (Grimes on the Beach - Aldeburgh Festival) (Audio CD)
The diction of the singers is quite stunning and it is rare to hear the words with such clarity . There is a tremendous feeling of a genuine ensemble working here and Bedford's pacing throughout always seems perfectly judged.
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