The cover of this disc of Britten's music highlights the `Young Persons' Guide to the Orchestra' which is a set of variations on a tune by Henry Purcell, each variation designed to demonstrate particular orchestral instruments, and EMI have reproduced the various instrumental sounds convincingly. The `cellos and double basses have swopped places with the 2nd violins, so the lower strings are heard from your LH speaker. I am still not convinced by this seating arrangement for recordings, but in the violins' variation you hear the 1st violins to your left, the 2nd violins to your right, which may actually be what the composer wanted. The recording is pure music, without the spoken commentary sometimes used. Although this CD is marketed highlighting the `Guide' it contains other pieces at least as interesting and possibly in the long run more rewarding; and they all demonstrate Britten's brilliant use of orchestral instruments again clearly recorded by EMI. The Canadian Carnival is a colourful, often lively romp using Canadian folk tunes and the American Overture is equally vibrant but with a wider emotional range. The English Folk Tune Suite has superb use of orchestral instruments in a more intimate setting. The Sinfonia da Requiem is the weightiest work on the disc, its wide dynamic range kept user friendly for domestic use by EMI, but without losing the drama and emotional intensity that Rattle draws from the CBSO. This disc is recommended as a good performance and recording of a variety of pieces, which despite their differences explore and celebrate the sounds of the orchestra.
38 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?