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Britten: Curlew River

Britten: Curlew River

1 Jan 1966
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Britten: Curlew River
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan. 1966
  • Release Date: 12 Feb. 2014
  • Label: Decca Music Group Ltd.
  • Copyright: ℗ 1966 Decca Music Group Limited © 1989 Decca Music Group Limited
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:09:09
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B004IY214M
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,102 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Format: Audio CD
Brilliant - because this performance of Curlew River draws you in and makes you 'feel' the drama. Curious - because if you follow Britten's score, you discover that in a couple of places this performance (directed by Britten himself) departs from the score in terms of timing ... if one reads the score literally. I don't doubt that Britten knew exactly what he wanted - we are after all talking about a man who could compose an opera in his head and then write it down faster than I can even transcribe a score manually, so I take my hat off to him. It's just that this is about the only example I know of a recording of a Britten work, directed by the composer, in which what I hear doesn't quite match up with what I see in the score. HOWEVER don't let this put you off buying this recording. It is glorious. 'Curlew River' is far from being an easy work to appreciate, but many years ago I played this performance (in its previous incarnation on vinyl LP) to some friends who were unfamiliar with both this work and with Britten's music in general: and they were enthralled by it.
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Format: Audio CD
Brilliant Gregorian beginning in the sonority of a medieval church we can imagine Romanesque. And we are transported to an eternal time that has to be out of time.

We are introduced to the abandoned and the weak on the side of the road and God lifting them up, giving them some life back. God is with the dejected and rejected. The Curlew River becomes the divide between this world and another more humane world and the Ferryman is the Go-Between that takes you to the other side of your soul.

A rite is to be performed for the first anniversary of a burial on the other side of the river, a grave that is a curing place for the sick. The ferryman is going to bring the people to that shrine. The trumpet of the ferryman is like the trumpet of Jericho: crossing the river is like bringing down the wall that hides the unknown.

The harp brings the traveler evoking some mermaid, some voyage, from far behind to far ahead, from the remembered to the unknown, then a change occurs and is announced by the music.

The mad woman is introduced as crazy and having made people laugh with her raving. Her discourse is incoherent, she asks for passage as well as for passage to be refused to her. The reedy sound at that time shows that uncertainty, more than craziness. She is distracted by the loss of her child she is looking for and she sees and loses at the same time. Her discourse is incongruent and the music plays on these notes going up and then down as if hesitating to follow one way and only one.

She explains her son was stolen from her by a stranger and taken east. This dramatic event has made her mind unclear and fuzzy, which is expressed by the last syllable of the first lines going up and then systematically turning down. Is there still some hope?
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This piece of music, inspired by a Japanese Noh play, is a stunning piece, and well worth adding to your collection. Beautiful singing in a beautifully produced cd - buy it now
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Format: Audio CD
THIS WORK IS MAGICAL.THE RECENT PROD AT ST GILES CRIPPLEGATE WAS A SENSATION WITH EVERYONE TOP NOTCH PERFORMERS.THE WORK HAS MANY REFERENCES TO OTHER WORKS BRITTEN NOTABLY TURN OF THE SCREW AND PETER GRIMES. THIS RECORDING WITH PETER PEARS AS THE MADWOMAN IS THE BEST .HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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