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Bryden Thomson - Britten: Les Illuminations; Quatre Chansons Françaises; Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings (1989)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Bryden Thomson - Britten: Les Illuminations; Quatre Chansons Françaises; Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings (1989)

Bryden Thomson, Royal Scottish National Orchestra - Benjamin Britten: Les Illuminations, Quatre Chansons Françaises, Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings (1989)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 232 Mb | Total time: 58:55 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Chandos | # CHAN 8657 | Recorded: 1988

Les Illuminations was premiered by Sophie Wyss in 1939, but, as with much of Britten's work, has been colonised since by tenors. Here, it is a joy to hear Felicity Lott singing a soprano version. Her voice is in the full bloom of youth, and she sings with a thrilling freshness and verve, entirely in keeping with the mood of excitement. There are many delicious moments – how wittily she confides "Des drôles trés solides" in Parade, and explodes with an ecstatic "J'ai seul la clef de cette parade sauvage !" echoing the sole phrase in the opening fanfare, but with a completely different tone. When the same phrase appears again, in Interlude, she sings it in yet another way, echoing the instrumental colouring around it. Her voice breezes "fleet of foot" so to speak, through the fast phrases of Villes without missing a nuance. Also, the tricky Marine, with its single word emphases, and final, swirling "tourillons, tourillons". This is virtuoso singing, as the musical line in the text isn't obvious and is often prose based, and the music shifts emphasis just as quirkily. Felicity Lott's reputation as one of the great singers of French song is well deserved. She remains idiomatic, with clear, pure diction, even in passages which test the flexibility of voice. In Royauté, she conveys the up-front pertness that has served her so well in Poulenc. This is gorgeous singing, well supported by tightly focused orchestral playing from the Scottish National under Bryden Thomson.
Unlike Les Illuminations, Serenade has always been tenor territory. Some of the finest tenors have performed it, for it challenges both voice and musicality. Even German language specialists like Peter Schreier and Ernst Haefliger have essayed it. Here, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, the great English tenor of his time, gives his version, note perfect and beautiful. It is very good, but after the exceptionally vivacious singing of Felicity Lott, I long for more impassioned versions, such as John Mark Ainsley's, or, the even more original, other worldly versions by Ian Bostridge, probably the finest Britten interpreter since Pears. On its own terms, however, there are many felicities in Rolfe Johnson's voice to enjoy. Notice how subtly he phrases the different moods within Nocturne, for example, and brings out the changes of texture in the poem. If the other levels of meaning, such as death and the supernatural, don't feature much here, it remains a lovely evocation of night and sleep. The horn solo, by Michael Thompson, is good, though not specially inspiring. Dennis Brain and Marie Louise Neunecker on other recordings demonstrate just how haunting and expressive the horn part can be, and how integral it is to the spirit of the piece.
–SAnne Ozorio

Performer:
Felicity Lott, soprano (1-14)
Anthony Rolfe Johnson, tenor (15-22)
Michael Thompson, horn (15-22)
Royal Scottish National Orchestra
Bryden Thomson, conductor

Track List:
Les illuminations, Op. 18
01. I. Fanfare
02. II. Villes
03. IIIA. Phrase
04. IIIB. Antique
05. IV. Royauté
06. V. Marine
07. VI. Interlude
08. VII. Being Beauteous
09. VIII. Parade
10. IX. Départ
Quatre chansons françaises
11. I. Nuits de juin
12. II. Sagesse
13. III. L'enfance
14. IV. Chanson d'automne
Serenade for tenor, horn and strings, Op. 31
15. Prologue
16. Pastoral
17. Nocturne
18. Elegy
19. Dirge
20. Hymn
21. Sonnet
22. Epilogue


Exact Audio Copy V1.6 from 23. October 2020

EAC extraction logfile from 26. November 2021, 19:55

Britten - Rolfe Johnson - Lott / Les Illuminations

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==== Log checksum DDCE3601CF8CE7C7382502F116128A2FAA0C3E49AAF63B813D28935B9857136A ====

Bryden Thomson - Britten: Les Illuminations; Quatre Chansons Françaises; Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings (1989)

Thanks to the original releaser