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Holst: Savitri; Vaughan Williams; Britten /Cortese, Manhattan School of Music
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Gustav Holst - Savitiri/Vaughn Williams - The Lark Ascending/ Benjamin Britten - Sinfonietta
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This all English album is a wonderful mix of the known and little known. Gustav Holst's opera in one act "Savitri" is based on an episode from the Indian classic Mahabharta. Holst created this work as a result of an almost obsessive fascination with spiritualism and Asian culture that swept through Europe prior to World War I. Benjamin Britten's Op.1 "Sinfonietta" was written when he was an 18 year old music student and is dedicated to his teacher Frank Bridge. "The Lark Ascending" by Ralph Vaughan Williams is in his own words "an English landscape transcribed into musical terms." This work is one of the 20th century's most beautiful Pastorales, as set for solo violin and orchestra.
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The instruments, they sound wonderful.. this is the first recording I found that is performed as it is scored (double string quartet, bass, 2 flutes, eng. horn), but some of the directions they are following are just not right... I don't know what the director of this production was thinking, but this is like a roller coaster ride I just did not want to pay for.
I thought that the Vaughan Williams and Britten were well done..the Britten in particular. It's too bad such a good Holst piece was performed so poorly.