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Britten Abroad - A collection of songs by Benjamin Britten set in Italian, Russian, French & German

Britten Abroad - A collection of songs by Benjamin Britten set in Italian, Russian, French & German -Vocal and Piano-Vocal Collection
ID: SIGCD122 (EAN: 635212012222)  | 1 CD | DDD
Released in: 2008
Signum Records
Vocal Collection
Vocal and Piano
BRITTEN, Benjamin
BURNSIDE, Iain (piano) | GRITTON, Susan (soprano) | PADMORE, Mark (tenor)
Other info:

Susan Gritton and Mark Padmore perform these songs with vigour, marvellously accompanied by Iain Burnside and do great justice to songs which many would regard as being the most distinctive and very finest examples of Britten’s art.

Britten’s extraordinary skill and fluency for setting his own native language has sometimes obscured the brilliance with which he embraced a wide range of foreign poetry throughout his career. In fact Britten left a series of exquisite settings, some of his very finest, in French, Italian, Latin, German, Russian, Scot dialect and Medieval English; and the role-call of poets attests to the diversity and sophistication of his literary tastes, including the work of Victor Hugo, Paul Verlaine, Artur Rimbaud, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Friedrich Hölderlin, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Alexander Pushkin, Bertolt Brecht and William Soutar. The earliest of these works (written when Britten was just fourteen) was the Quatre chansons françaises, settings of Hugo and Verlaine for high voice and orchestra, written in the summer of 1928 for his parents’ twenty-seventh wedding anniversary. Les Illuminations followed a decade later; Latin settings were a constant throughout his career, for his many liturgical settings and notably in War Requiem and the Cantata misericordium; we find Scots dialect in his Souter settings, Who are these children? and his authentic response to the challenge of early English texts is demonstrated in his mystery-play settings, Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac and Noye’s Fludde, and profoundly so in one of his very last works, the choral setting of eight medieval English lyrics, Sacred and Profane. But Britten’s settings of Italian, Russian, French and German, performed here by Susan Gritton, Mark Padmore and Iain Burnside are certainly amongst the most distinctive and very finest examples of his art, each fashioned specifically for a much-loved and favoured artist.
© Dr John Evans, 05.12.07
BRITTEN, Benjamin (1913-1976) 
Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo, Op. 22 
1. Sonetto XVI: Si come nella penna e nell'inchiostro2:09
2. Sonetto XXXI: A che piu debb'io mai l'intensa voglia1:35
3. Sonetto XXX: Veggio co'bei vostri occhi un dolce lume4:21
4. Sonetto LV: Tu sa'ch'io so, signior mie, che tu sai2:03
5. Sonetto XXXVIII: Redete a gli occhi miei, o fonte o fiume2:02
6. Sonetto XXXII: S'un casto amor, s'una pieta superna1:27
7. Sonetto XXIV: Spirto ben nato, in cui si specchia evede4:25
The Poet's Echo, Op. 76 
8. Echo3:03
9. My Heart…1:51
10. Angel2:15
11. The Nightingale and the Rose4:00
12. Epigram0:48
13. Lines written during a sleepless night4:24
Four French Folksong Arrangements 
14. La Noël passée3:52
15. Voici le Printemps2:02
16. Fileuse2:00
17. Le roi s'en va-t'en chasse2:12
18. Um Mitternacht (1960)4:26
Sechs Hölderlin-Fragmente, Op. 61 
19. Menschenbeifall1:32
20. Die Heimat2:31
21. Sokrates und Alcibiades2:30
22. Die Jugend2:03
23. Hälfte des Lebens2:22
24. Die Linien des Lebens2:24
Four French Folksong Arrangements 
25. La belle est au jardin d'amour2:51
26. Il est quelqu'un sur terre4:35
27. Eho! Eho!1:59
28. Quand j'étais chez mon père2:06


"5 stars ***** ... a powerfully eloquent performance ... .
The Guardian

"5 stars ***** flawless music-making of the first order"
BBC Music Magazine

"Mark Padmore's singing of the Michaelangelo Sonnets has all the grace of the young Pears without his mannerisms ... Iain Burnside is a tower of strength throughout"
The Sunday Telegraph


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