Benjamin Britten: Canticles Nos. 1-6/The Heart of the Matter (Naxos Audio CD)

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Canticles Nos. 1-6/The Heart of the Matter (Naxos Audio CD)

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Department: CDs - Save up to 15% - Classical CDs: Vocal, Choral & Opera

Publisher: Select Music

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Jean Rigby (mezzo soprano)
Derek Lee Ragin (alto)
Philip Langridge (tenor)
Gerald Finley (baritone)
Frank Lloyd (horn)
Osian Ellis (harp)
Steuart Bedford (piano)

Dame Judi Dench (narrator)

Britten's five Canticles are marvellously vivid, intensely dramatic works.

Although they were not designed to be performed together - they span virtually his whole career, from the early 1940s to the mid-1970s, & were composed for a variety of forces & singers - they form a remarkably effective sequence.

Each is in some way inspired by religion & takes the form of an extended song, scena, miniature cantata, mini opera.

“As ever, Langridge’s declamation is spectacularly vivid. No detail of the vocal or verbal writing escapes him as he presents note and text as if new-minted. … It is as if composer and interpreter see to the heart of Sitwell’s and Eliot’s words respectively; in the third, Frank Lloyd’s evocative playing is a further asset. … Dame Judi Dench reads the texts with total conviction.”
Gramophone on the original Collins Classics issue.

Contents and Reviews


Canticle I, Op. 40: My Beloved is mine Canticle II, Op. 51: Abraham and Isaac The Heart of the Matter (rev. P. Pears, 1983): Prologue - Fanfare: Where are the seeds of the Universal Fire Reading: The earth of my heart was broken and gaped low - Fanfare Reading: In the hour when the sapphire of the bone Song: We are the darkness in the heat of the day Reading: In such a heat of the earth Canticle III, Op. 55: Still Falls the Rain Reading: I see Christ's wounds weep in the Rose on the wall Epilogue - Fanfare: So, out of the dark Canticle IV, Op. 86: Journey of the Magi Canticle V, Op. 89: The Death of Saint Narcissus