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.