This 27-CD set brings together for the first time Britten's complete Decca recordings as pianist and conductor in which he performs music by other composers - an astonishing variety of music that ranges from large-scale choral works by Bach and Purcell to Schumann and Elgar, as well as orchestral works by Mozart, Haydn and Schubert. Solo vocal repertory is generously represented with important works by Schubert and Schumann and early twentieth-century English song. Chamber music features Britten the pianist in partnership with two of Britten's closest collaborators: Mstislav Rostropovich and Sviatoslav Richter.
During the research and preparation for this set a major discovery was made. The existence of a few unpublished Schubert songs was already known and a few works which had never appeared on CD already ensured their inclusion at the planning stage. However the discovery of an unpublished tape containing almost 50 minutes of Mozart (including Symphony No. 40) with the London Symphony Orchestra recorded in Kingsway Hall in December 1963 was a genuine once in a lifetime discovery!
Included in the booklet are:-
Article by Britten scholar Dr Philip Reed assesses Britten’s contribution as a performer
Article on Pears and Britten performing Winterreise by one of today’s great accompanists and writers on music, Graham Johnson