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Britten: Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings; Finzi: Dies Natali (Padmore) [Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import]

Stephen Bell (horn) , Benjamin Britten , Gerald Finzi , Jaqueline Shave , Britten Sinfonia , Mark Padmore (tenor) Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Price: $18.75 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Performer: Mark Padmore (tenor)
  • Orchestra: Britten Sinfonia
  • Conductor: Jaqueline Shave
  • Composer: Benjamin Britten, Gerald Finzi
  • Audio CD (May 8, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi
  • ASIN: B006H99HIE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #37,642 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Prologue (Serenade for tenor, horn & strings, Op. 31-Britten)
2. Pastoral (Cotton)
3. Nocturne (Tennyson)
4. Elegy (Blake)
5. Dirge (Anonymous, 15th century)
6. Hymn (Jonson)
7. Sonnet (Keats)
8. Epilogue
9. On a poet's lips I slept (Shelley) (Nocturne for tenor, seven obligato instruments & stings, Op. 50-Britten)
10. Below the thunders of the upper deep (Tennyson)
11. Encinctured with a twine of leaves (Coleridge)
12. Midnight's bell goes ting, ting, ting (Middleton)
13. But that night when on my bed I lay (Wordsworth)
14. She sleeps on soft, last breaths (Owen)
15. What is more gentle than a wind in summer? (Keats)
16. When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see (Shakespeare)
17. Intrada (Dies Natalis, Op. 8 - Finzi)
18. Rhapsody (Recitativo stromentato)
19. The Rapture (Danza)
20. Wonder (Arioso)
See all 21 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Celebrated tenor Mark Padmore and the Britten Sinfonia present a program featuring some of the most beautiful English music for voice and orchestra ever written. The centerpiece is Benjamin Britten s magical evocation of twilight and nightfall, the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Op.31, for which he is joined by the dulcet tones of Stephen Bell on French horn. Completing the disc are Gerald Finzi s song-cycle Dies Natalis, with its ecstatic mood reflecting a child s wide- eyed wonder at the world, and Britten s fourth and final orchestral song cycle, the poignant Nocturne, Op.60. Long associated with the
great Peter Pears, Padmore makes this music his own in stunning performances that welcome comparison to any singer, past or present.

Review

These are beautiful and perceptive performances, rewardingly matching poetic insight to musical understanding. Outstanding. --International Record Review

The wait has been worth it. These performances of the Serenade for tenor, horn and strings and the Nocturne are of the utmost sensitivity, skilfully accompanied by the Britten Sinfonia and recorded with tremendous presence. --Gramophone

There s no denying the affinity and rightness of this music under Padmore s voice. We really were driven almost mad with ecstasy, secure in his musical architecture and tonal control. --The Concert's Desk

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Near Perfect Combination of Forces July 4, 2012
Format:Audio CD
On this recording the selection of forces are so very well matched that it becomes a genuine collector's item. First the music - and here we have two of Benjamin Britten's most eloquent scores, the Serenade of for Tenor, Horn & Strings and the Nocturne as well as the seldom heard but impressive Dies Natalis of Gerald Finzi. Then the performers - the celebrated tenor Mark Padmore, French hornist Stephen Bell, and the Britten Sinfonia conducted with great sensitivity by Jacqueline Shave. The degree of collaboration among these artists is exemplary.

Though comparisons with other singers is a much abused means of addressing a recording, the fact that Britten wrote these two song cycles of his life partner Peter Pears always raises that sort of discussion. Mark Padmore has an ideal voice for these two Britten song cycles. He has the kind of musical sensitivity and attentiveness to textual subtleties that characterized Pears' singing. His voice is essentially light in the way that Pears' was, but his is infinitely more attractive. Its tone is clear and pure, with none of Pears' nasal quality, and can be sweet without sounding precious. Padmore's technique seems absolutely secure and while his instrument is not large, he can produce an impressive range of dynamics. He and horn player Stephen Bell deliver a terrific performance of the Serenade for tenor, horn, and strings, and Jacqueline Shave's leadership of the Britten Sinfonia is energetic and nuanced. His interpretation of the Nocturne is one of utmost sensitivity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Britten December 5, 2013
Format:Audio CD
This is an excellent record with performances of two key Britten song cycles that really do tell us something new about the works. Padmore's voice has power as well as sensitivity and he is an extremely imaginative artist. This account of the famous and much recorded Serenade is wonderful: compelling music making! Stephen Bell's horn is excellent and the Britten Sinfonia play wonderfully. Each song is strongly characterised and memorable. With excellent recording quality this could make it a preferred choice - especially for those who have yet to get the powerful flavours of Peter Pears' singing. The Nocturne is even more striking and benefits from really stupendous playing of the obligato wind parts. Padmore's account is very different from the recordings that Pears made - he take far more risks and achieves some delicate and magical things. Finzi's Dies Natalis is new to me. I know it is a much recorded and popular work and this seems a lovely performance but I don't yet feel able to review this performance of it.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Mark Padmore has risen to high artistic esteem in Britain, a position he deserves for his musicality. His devoted following, including reviewers at the Gramophone, is forgiving about some vocal deficits - a weak lower range, quavery vibrato at loud dynamics - in exchange for Padmore's interpretative virtues. It's much the same bargain made with Peter Pears, for whom Britten wrote both the Serenade and Nocturne. This new CD parallels Pears's stereo recording of these two works, which he owned even at an age when the voice wasn't exactly a pleasure to listen to. In the same way, Padmore offers a beautiful, wise, highly convincing reading, the best I've heard in years. And he is helped by the courageous horn playing of Stephen Bell, who comes very close to Barry Tuckwell's flashing virtuosity on the Pears recording. To tell the truth, Padmore is vocally more secure than Pears, so in many ways this is a first-choice recording for me.

The Nocturne is cut from the same cloth - a series of poems with instrumental obligato, but it has never been as popular as the Serenade, because Britten doesn't give us memorable melodies, and the poetry, all centered on the theme of night, isn't set to music as dramatically. Still, no other composer since Mahler has been so successful in creating an orchestral song cycle at this level of mastery (unless you count Zemlinsky's Lyric Symphony as a song cycle in disguise). I see that some reviewers consider Padmore less successful in the Nocturne, but he's quite remarkable, I think. The only drawback might be that Jacqueline Shave's conducting of the Britten Sinfonia feels low-key by the composer's high standards - he ranked among those select composers who were also first-rate conductors.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Stellar January 1, 2014
By cdgray
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Truly compelling performances. The vocalism is, shall I say, "different," but the result finds a well constructed effect to the wonderful poetry. I have known of the Finzi before, but this recording opens up new love for the work. The Britten is stellar in all respects.
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