Britten: The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra; Simple Symphony, etc.

December 8, 1986 | Format: MP3

$9.49
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16:34
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3:29
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3:06
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7:56
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3:00
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2:24
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1:06
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2:41
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3:59
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7:35


Product Details

  • Original Release Date: December 8, 1986
  • Release Date: December 8, 1986
  • Label: Decca
  • Copyright: (C) 1986 Decca Music Group Limited
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 1:00:51
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B0015S5ABA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,300 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
The variations are, I think, one of the masterpieces of 20th century music.
Frank C. Adams
I would therefore suggest that collectors of either multiple versions or just single versions would do well to consider this disc as a priority option.
I. Giles
Some recordings included narration; this performance simply presents the music in topnotch performances with great virtuosity throughout.
Robert E. Nylund

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Robert E. Nylund on May 18, 2006
Format: Audio CD
British composer Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) was a master composer AND a master conductor. Not only did he make numerous recordings conducting his own compositions, he also conducted very competent performances of other composers, including J.S. Bach and Robert Schumann. He was an exclusive London/Decca artist throughout his life and the recordings in this compilation were originally released on LPs on that label. They have now been superbly remastered for really high fidelity sound on compact disc.

The CD features a wonderful color photograph of Britten on the cover. He was a musician's musician, who challenged both singers and instrumentalists to strive harder. In an interview, Britten admitted that his music was often difficult to perform correctly. That became apparent when this writer had the opportunity to sing some of Britten's choral music, including "Ceremony of Carols," "Rejoice in the Lamb," and "War Requiem." His choral music IS singable, despite the great challenges, and not as "impossible" to sing as portions of Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis," which I have also sung.

The 1963 recording of "A Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra" is a benchmark performance by the fabulous London Symphony Orchestra, truly one of the greatest of all orchestras. The individual performers, as well as the sections, all get a chance to "shine" as Britten uses a theme by Henry Purcell (1659-1695) to present a series of variations highlighting all of the sections and some of the individual instruments in the orchestra. Some recordings included narration; this performance simply presents the music in topnotch performances with great virtuosity throughout. The sound is exceptionally clear, too, making it possible to thoroughly enjoy this inspiring performance.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Frank C. Adams on December 6, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Unlike most listeners, I bought this for the 'Frank Bridge' work; I originally had it on LP, from over 20 years ago. The variations are, I think, one of the masterpieces of 20th century music. It was his first commission to receive widesprad attention and for good reason: his mastery of string instrumentation and sonics is truly astonishing. It is a piece I constantly return to.
The 'Young Person's Guide' is totally satisfying as well. Britten's interpretation is much more 'baroque' than the full orchestral sound we are used to; but it is much more convincing, particarly as the theme is by Purcell. And the 'Simple Symphony' is as charming as others have noted. All are recorded with excellent sound.
Britten as interpreted by Britten has to be considered definitive!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By HB on March 21, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra can be performed with or without narration. I prefer without since the music speaks for itself so eloquently. The theme is by Henry Purcell and it is gorgeous. After each section plays the theme for a few seconds, variations begin with the woodwinds, strings, brass and finally percussion. The work ends with a fugue and final proclamation of the glorius theme. It is a thrilling work that all ages can enjoy. The rest of the music is also wonderful and the composer directed performances are superior in every way. Although the sound is from the analog era, it is just perfect. Amazon says the CD is essential. I totally agree.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Susannah Smith on October 6, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I bought this because I wanted the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, but I wrongly assumed that all versions were the narrated version I had when I was a kid. I'm going to have to find out where my mom got that one from, because that one broke up the piece into sections, so you could listen to a narrated description of just the woodwind section, for instance. This one just plays straight through the whole work with no narration. The other selections on the cd are fine, but not amazing, certainly not as good as Britten's many masterpieces! So the cd is fine, I just didn't realize what it was.
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Format: Audio CD
This disc compiles recordings originally published in 1964 (YPG), 1968 (Variations) and 1969 (SS). Britten was renowned for being an excellent conductor of his own work and so it transpires here. Decca provide recordings that have survived the passing of time very well and these give a pleasing mixture of glow plus brilliance. Both of these characteristics reproduce the playing of the musicians of course.

The three works on this disc are among the most easily accessed works that Britten composed and together they make a most attractive package. The Young Person's Guide sparkles with brilliant playing by members of the LSO and this is probably the most satisfying performance available on disc regardless of its age. The recording is very vivid with lots of 'presence.' It needs to be noted that this is the orchestral concert version without the additional descriptive script.

The Variations also offers superlative playing from the strings of the ECO and here there is a glowing sumptuousness added to the recording which is totally appropriate to the music. The Simple Symphony likewise gets wonderful playing.

All these pieces gain immeasurably from Britten's skilful direction. To say that his readings are perceptive or show enormous empathy seems ridiculous bearing in mind that he wrote the music, but that is exactly where these recordings score over all the competition.

Definitive recordings are generally doubtful descriptions given the wealth of recorded material now available, but in this case one is sorely tempted to use that description.

I would therefore suggest that collectors of either multiple versions or just single versions would do well to consider this disc as a priority option.
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