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Serenade for Tenor Horn & Strings


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Audio CD, November 8, 2005
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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Les Illuminations, Op.18: I. FanfareIan Bostridge/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 1:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Les Illuminations, Op.18: II. VillesIan Bostridge/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 2:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Les Illuminations, Op.18: IIIa. PhraseIan Bostridge/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 1:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Les Illuminations, Op.18: IIIb. AntiqueIan Bostridge/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 2:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Les Illuminations, Op.18: IV. RoyautéIan Bostridge/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 1:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Les Illuminations, Op.18: V. MarineIan Bostridge/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle0:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Les Illuminations, Op.18: VI. InterludeIan Bostridge/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 2:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Les Illuminations, Op.18: VII. Being BeauteousIan Bostridge/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 4:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Les Illuminations, Op.18: VIII. ParadeIan Bostridge/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 2:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Les Illuminations, Op.18: IX. DépartIan Bostridge/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 3:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, Op.31 (1943): PrologueIan Bostridge/Radek Baborák/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 1:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, Op.31 (1943): Pastoral (Charles Cotton)Ian Bostridge/Radek Baborák/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 3:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, Op.31 (1943): Nocturne (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)Ian Bostridge/Radek Baborák/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 3:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, Op.31 (1943): Elegy (William Blake)Ian Bostridge/Radek Baborák/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 3:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, Op.31 (1943): Dirge (anon. 15th century)Ian Bostridge/Radek Baborák/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 3:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, Op.31 (1943): Hymn (Ben Jonson)Ian Bostridge/Radek Baborák/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 2:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, Op.31 (1943): Sonnet (John Keats)Ian Bostridge/Radek Baborák/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 3:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, Op.31 (1943): EpilogueIan Bostridge/Radek Baborák/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 2:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. Nocturne, Op.60 (1958): Prometheus Unbound (Shelley)Ian Bostridge/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 3:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen20. Nocturne, Op.60 (1958): The Kraken (Tennyson)Ian Bostridge/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle/Stefan Schweigert 3:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen21. Nocturne, Op.60 (1958): The Wanderings of Cain (Coleridge)Ian Bostridge/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle/Marie-Pierre Langlamet 2:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen22. Nocturne, Op.60 (1958): Blurt, Master Constable (Middleton)Ian Bostridge/Radek Baborák/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 2:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen23. Nocturne, Op.60 (1958): The Prelude (1805) (Wordsworth)Ian Bostridge/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle/Wieland Welzel 3:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen24. Nocturne, Op.60 (1958): The Kind Ghosts (Owen)Ian Bostridge/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle/Dominik Wollenweber 5:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen25. Nocturne, Op.60 (1958): Sleep and Poetry (Keats)Ian Bostridge/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle/Andreas Blau/Wenzel Fuchs 3:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen26. Nocturne, Op.60 (1958): Sonnet 43 (Shakespeare)Ian Bostridge/Berliner Philharmoniker/Sir Simon Rattle 4:42$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 8, 2005)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B000AXZE3U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,538 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

This is a wonderful record, in substance and execution. As Ian Bostridge writes in his passionately involved program notes, these three song cycles represent a pinnacle of the all-too-sparse literature for tenor and orchestra. We owe them to Britten's long personal and professional partnership with the great tenor Peter Pears, for whom he wrote all his vocal music. Listeners who remember Pears' unique and unmistakable voice and style will be astounded at how thoroughly Bostridge has made these works his own. His voice is very different but no less unique, and intoxicatingly beautiful. He has at his command colors and nuances which he uses so masterfully that they become an integral part of the music, never sounding artificial. Giving equal weight to words and music, Bostridge captures the lush sensuousness of the French cycle, set to poems of Rimbaud, the lyricism, lightness, serenity, horror and triumph of the Serenade, and the declamatory drama of the Nocturne (the last two use poetry from Shakespeare to Wilfred Owen). The cycles trace the development of Britten's style, from the tonal orientation and direct expressiveness of the first, through the greater emotional depth and variety of the second, to the descriptive, sardonic, wild, passionate rhetoric of the third. The orchestra's principals are superb in their extensive solos. Unfortunately, they are nameless except for Radek Baborák, a worthy successor to Dennis Brain, the virtuoso hornist for whom the Serenade was written. --Edith Eisler

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
This is one of the best discs I have had the pleasure of hearing in the last couple of years.
jt52
Ian Bostridge continues to astound with the variety of his repertoire and the glowing beauty of his richly burnished tenor voice and his enormous musicality.
Grady Harp
Radek Baborak is a first rate horn player if there ever was one, and his solos, particularly in the Elegy, are beyond words.
Andrew R. Barnard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Klingsor Tristan on November 22, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This is a marvellous disc of the most famous Britten orchestral Song Cycles - not so much for Bostridge's singing as for the stunning playing of the strings of the Berlin Philharmonic and the excellent conducting of Simon Rattle.

The very opening bars of Les Illuminations give a thrilling taste of excitements to come as the violins and violas throw the fanfares from side to side of the stereo spectrum. In the hands of the Berlin Phil, Les Illuminations reveals itself to be as big a compendium of string orchestra techniques as the Frank Bridge Variations. Here are wonderfully light harmonics, creepy harmonic glissandos, perfectly together full-bodied pizzicati, haunting cantilenas, rich thrumming accompaniments. Ensemble throughout is impressively immaculate. Antique is hauntingly beautiful, Being Beauteous achingly so. Bostridge's singing is also impressive in these Rimbaud settings, bringing to some of the songs a real baritonal quality to set beside his more familiar headtones - perhaps suggesting that a Pelleas from him might be an interesting proposition. For me, the sound of the original soprano voice works better in these songs (they were first done by Sophie Weiss): it rises freer and cleaner of the string accompaniments. But Bostridge is fine among the tenor versions, up there with Pears himself.

The Serenade fares a little less well after such an impressive opening. Maybe the horn player, Radek Baborak, is to blame.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 25, 2006
Format: Audio CD
In 1944, a year after it was composed, Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings began a long streak of excellence on disc. Six decades later we have this acclaimed new one from Ian Bostridge, so it seems worthwhile to compare it to the best from the past. (I will name my personal favorites at the end.)

Pears 1944: The Gramophone calls this, the premiere recording, 'unsurpassable,' and so it would seem with the unique combination of Peter Pears, the tenor voice for which the work was written, Dennis Brain, the young horn virtuoso whom Britten also had in mind, and Britten himself conducting. There are some drawbacks, though, principally the ugly wartime sonics, which are murky and boxed-in. Pears is not as dramatic as he would become later on, and although Brain is very musical and supple in tone, he doesn't extract the last ounce of intensity from his part.

Pears 1964: Pears' remake is the unsurpassable one, perhaps. We get excellent stereo from Decca, and Britten's conducting is more or less perfect. Barry Tuckwell sets a new standard in the horn part, taking hair-raising risks and underlining the darker side of the score. Pears has grown immensely in his interpretation of the poetry, but one can't escape that he is 20 years older--his voice is obviously under strain in the more difficult passages and at loud volume. Even so, his depth and artistry quickly make you forget anything but the music itself--a great recording from everyone involved.

Rolfe-Johnson 1991: The Gramophone loved this recording when it came out on Chandos. The outstanding performer here is the tenor, Anthony Rolfe-Johnson, who took up Pears' artistic mantle.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 29, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Ian Bostridge continues to astound with the variety of his repertoire and the glowing beauty of his richly burnished tenor voice and his enormous musicality. Here he sings three of Benjamin Britten's finest works and with him in collaboration are Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. An embarrassment of riches!

Each of the three cycles feels as though Bostridge and Rattle are in complete agreement with Britten's intentions. 'Les Illuminations', designated as a work 'for high voice and strings', here benefits greatly from the timbre of Bostridge's baritone-infused tenor voice. The poems by Rimbaud were written by a man for a man and thus it feels more appropriate to have the male voice singing (though the numerous performances by sopranos do hold a special glow). Supported by some of the most lush strings sound ever recorded, Bostridge sings the songs with more passion than most. These are heartfelt and not the cerebral exercise they often receive. Yes, there are moments when memories of other performances rise - such as during the downward glissando of 'et je danse' when other singers caress every note in the fall. But the overall effect is very dramatic and, well, luminous.

'Serenade for tenor, horn and strings' finds Radek Baborak in the horn role. Again the pulsing Berlin strings under Rattle are almost unbearably beautiful. Bostridge's perfect diction again demonstrates how Britten was the finest composer for the English language. The cycle is involving in its survey of an interesting variety of poems. Likewise the Nocturne 'for tenor, seven obbligato instruments an strings' is a mature work of Britten's and has echoes of phrases from what by the time of its composition were closely identified with the 'Britten sound'.
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