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Britten: The Prince of the Pagodas - Ballet; Gloriana - Symphonic Suite

Britten: The Prince of the Pagodas - Ballet; Gloriana - Symphonic Suite

6 Feb 2006
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Disc 2
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4:44
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6
3:46
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1:05
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1:04
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1:21
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4:01
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20
6:59
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 6 Feb. 2006
  • Release Date: 20 Mar. 2006
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Mixed Repertoire
  • Copyright: ℗ This compilation 2006 by EMI Records Ltd © EMI Records Ltd, 2006
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 2:23:56
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001ID3JFQ
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 122,805 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Oliver Knussen's recording of the Price of the Pagodas is the most complete to date - even Britten's version is abridged. To date there hasn't been a better performance than this and you get the added bonus of the Gloriana Suite. Producing the complete ballet had been a long labour of love for Knussen providing a recording in bright modern sound. His faith in the ballet was greater than Britten's because the productions of the ballet had failed, leaving Britten with little faith in the work.

The music itself does come with a few problems. Firstly, the tale is hardly standard Britten fare and seems more of a pastiche of other ballets by Prokofiev and Stravinsky with a nod to the Ballet Russe. The story combines something of Cinderella and King Lear. The Act II balinese style music owes much to the work of Colin MacPhee, who Britten knew during his time in America and Canada. It is the most memorable part of the ballet. He returned to this gamelan style again in his final opera, Death in Venice, so it clearly made an impact on him.

That said, the ballet is very long and suffers from almost an embarrassment of riches. Britten worked hard to build a symphonic structure but there is much that seems more for show than essential to the tale. The set of dances in the epilogue is very much stretching the point. You can, if you wish, simply edit what you're going to listen to and refer to the suite prepared by Donald Mitchell or build your own suite, so the ballet's excess of material needn't be a problem. Showy or not, the score is glittering and memorable. So if you prefer an abridged version you can make one yourself and that is part of the fun.

At this price there is no worthy competition.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A vivid and superbly satisfying complete recording of the ballet
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Format: MP3 Download
This double CD of music by Britten is inspiring to listen to - and so well played here. Wonderful imagination. The variety of instruments heard is a joy. Beautifully recorded.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Britten Writes Superb Music, But Pagodas Is Even More Superber.....:):):) 1 Feb. 2013
By BebopGrandpop - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Britten has become one of my favorites, and I have owned this "Prince of the Pagodas" since it was originally issued in the early 1990's. It never disappoints me when I play it again. In time, I am hoping it will become the popular listening fare that other ballet suites are (e.g., Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet", Copland's "Billy the Kid", Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring") because it deserves to be.

This music often "knocks me sideways" (as Britten said he was, upon hearing Frank Bridge's "The Sea".) I am left gasping with awe at some of the things he does. And it seems like many of the devices (gamelans, slewing strings, etc.) are heard rarely, if at all, elsewhere.

If you have enjoyed any of Britten's orchestral music, such as "Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge", you must try this. And the sound, medium-close, is excellent -- fat, rasping brass and thunderous bass. Clearly, this was a labor of love for Knussen and the London Sinfonietta, and they succeeded admirably.
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