Britten Composed AND Conducted? Of course he gets 5 stars!
Priscilla A. Arnold | Minneapolis, MN | 09/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Being a Britten junkie, I was thrilled to discover that not only is his entire collection of operas available in two sets, but the set is conducted by the composer himself. For a Britten lover, that's like getting an original copy of the Ten Commandments written directly by the finger of God!
Despite any small flaws in the sound quality and production and performance, the recordings are clean and lovely. I did not notice any flaws, because I was too caught up with the exceptional story-weaving and musical genius before me. But had there been flaws, I'm sure they were minimal and unimportant.
Most of all, I am thrilled that I am able to compare my own musical interpretation of these pieces with that conducted by the composer himself. That provides an incredible insight into the wishes of the creator as to the desired sound.
For those not familiar with Britten's work, I encourage you to start with his War Requiem, learn the story behind the composition, and then listen a couple of times. These works, as with most of Britten's works, are not initially easy to listen to. They are saturated in emotion and stark reality. The composing consists of minimalistic touches and atonal influences so common in the 1900's when Britten was creating.
However, for those interested in modern or English opera, Britten is an excellent source of material. For musicians, specifically vocalists, interested indeveloping a more diverse repertoire of song, these operas provide a huge range of arias that may be used by any proficient vocalist.
I don't pretend to think that everyone will appreciate this music. if you like soft, pretty music, don't buy this. If you are familiar with Carmen and such operas, this will be a shock. But if you truly desire to grow musicially, you will find a wealth of inspiration and joy here."