Britten: Serenade. Nocturne. Finzi: Dies Natalis.

Album review
Britten: Serenade. Nocturne. Finzi: Dies Natalis.

Britten; Finzi

Serenade, Nocture; Dies Natalis

Label: Harmonia Mundi
Media: SACD
Genre: Classical

Benjamin Britten’s song cycles are among his best and best-known works. Though some maintain that versions by Peter Pears, Britten’s artistic and domestic partner for most of his creative life, are “definitive,” that singer’s voice can be an acquired taste, and other performances are always welcome. Mark Padmore’s new recordings of the Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings and Nocturne, on poems by Shelley, Tennyson, Blake, Keats, Wordsworth, and Shakespeare, are sensitively inflected without ever seeming over-refined or fussy. The accompaniment by Jacqueline Shave is equally nuanced, with superb contributions of soloists on horn (Stephen Bell in both works), bassoon, harp, timpani, English horn, and clarinet assuring the full effect of Britten’s richly expressive scores. Gerald Finzi was 12 years Britten’s senior, and his music is more old-fashionedanother composer called Dies Natalis “strangely comforting”—but the settings of texts by Thomas Traherne are as emotionally acute as Britten’s. Producer Robina G. Young and engineer Brad Michel offer up a recording that’s intimate and immediate, tracing the subtlest dynamic gradations of singer and instrumentalists, especially the harrowing horn crescendos in Serenade. 

More Info

  • composer, Britten
  • composer, Finzi
  • primary artist, Mark Padmore
  • primary artist, Britten Sinfonia
  • SACD

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