- Performer: Peter Pears, Heather Harper
- Orchestra: English Chamber Orchestra
- Conductor: Benjamin Britten
- Composer: Handel, Benjamin Britten
- Audio CD (August 17, 1999)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: BBC Legends
- ASIN: B00000JWIT
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #380,019 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
Handel: Ode for St. Cecilia's Day / Britten: Choral Dances from Gloriana Britten The Performer
Format: Music CD, BBC Records. Classical music CD release from Benjamin Britten and English Chamber Orchestra with the album Handel: Ode for St Cecilia's Day and Britten: Choral Dances From Gloriana. Released on the label BBC Records. Classical music CD. This hard to find pre-owned music CD is fully guaranteed.
Top customer reviews
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Dryden's text is enunciated with great precision and clarity by both the Swedish choir and the two superb soloists, Felicity Palmer and the late Anthony Rolfe Johnson. I have always had a weakness for Palmer's juicy (now mezzo) soprano and while I suspect that her rich tone and voluptuous vibrato are hardly authentically 18C she sings with such feeling that I let that pass - and her trills are delicately exquisite for so large a voice. Rolfe Johnson's brilliant, mellifluous tenor makes the most of his solos and exalts even the rather hackneyed "The Trumpet's loud clangor" into something very stirring and jolly; "the double, double, double beat" word-painting accompanied by hard timpani strokes is great fun.
I have owned this version for years, first on LP then on CD and have always returned to it with great pleasure; it is a kind of economical summing up of Handel's virtues in only 50 minutes of music, encompassing martial vigour, plaintive pathos and a kind of moto perpetuo energy.
These performances were given for the dedication of concert halls and Queen Elizabeth II attended both performances with the performance of Britten's own works being given at the Queen Elizabeth concert hall on the South Bank.
The Handel performance is, since it was 1967 after all, not according to modern tastes of period instruments and performance practice. But it is a fine performance nonetheless. We should enjoy the artistry and remember how people used to perform this music and make it work. It is hard to believe that THIS is the exotic sound now. Handel's composition for St. Cecilia's Day - the patron saint of musicians and a tradition that started a couple of decades earlier, is a wonderful piece and in the tradition of Purcell's accomplishments for this day.
However, Britten conducting his own music is even more compelling. The "Choral Dances from 'Gloriana'" are exciting and the performance has that wonderful quality of all the resouces perfectly matching the musical requirements. All the resources and performance methods are absolutely right on for what the music asks for. It is an interesting study in performance practices if for nothing else.
To our ears the Handel performance seems to have things a bit grafted on, but still wonderful, while the Britten (conducted by Britten) seems perfectly matched in all aspects. It sounds compelling.
This is a good disk and deserves careful listening.
Harnoncourt's is a wonderfully vivid performance. Musical characterization has always been Harnoncourt's strong suit, and it pays dividends here. The playing and singing are first rate, and the recording is excellent. There are a couple of Harnoncourt mannerisms (such as a short final note), but nothing that seriously detracts from a splendid overall experience.