Related Reviews
Hi-Fi News
4½ Stars
'a new version of the Serenade with the young British tenor Allan Clayton is the real draw of this download...'
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American Record Guide
'This recording has the advantage of firstrate sound, a superb horn player who is at least the equal of Brain or Tuckwell with an even greater range of tonal nuance, and a singer who simply has a more pleasant sound than Pears.'
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Fanfare
'...the ensemble is particularly impressive in the hushed sections, playing with exquisite beauty and control...'
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Crescendo
4 Stars
'superbe'
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AllMusic
4½ Stars
'...extraordinary performances, aided by top-notch soloists..few recordings satisfy as much as this one, with deliberate, but intense, readings...'
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Forum Opera
4 Stars
« Le piano de Lorenzo Soulès en offre une interprétation étincelante...Le raffinement de Britten est servi en maître dans ce jalon d'une musique. »
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Voix des Arts
Recording of the Month: 'Clayton establishes himself as a triumphantly worthy successor to Pears...Clayton's voice is both more beautiful and more secure throughout the range than Pears's, but the forthrightness with which he limns the distress of lines like ‘O rose, thou art sick' recalls Pears's interpretive perspicuity.'
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Pizzicato
'..the soloists are one and all excellent, as are the exceptionally good Aldeburgh Strings.'
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The Guardian
4 Stars
'urgent, vibrant and punchy'
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Gramophone
'All are performances to be recommended.'
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The Sunday Times
'These performances by the Aldeburgh-inspired ensemble vividly affirm Britten's genius.'
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MusicWeb International
'One is struck by the beauty and security of their quiet playing - a virtue which comes to the fore also in the gorgeously lyrical Prelude. The accompanying Fugue, meanwhile, is a contrapuntal tour de force, and tossed off here with notable verve and aplomb.'
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Der neue Merker
'Britten's short but magnificent tone poem…bursts with radiant vitality, rises in iridescent tones before us...'
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Daily Mail
4 Stars
'The Aldeburgh Strings give an exceptional performance of Britten's the Serenade For Tenor, Horn And Strings.'
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Classic FM
'...the playing of the hornist Richard Watkins is also truly exceptional...a performance so worth treasuring.'
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Aldeburgh Strings - Britten: Serenade - BBC Music Magazine


01 July 2016
BBC Music Magazine
Daniel Jaffe
4 Stars

Here's a remarkably effective and unusual programme. Though featuring the Aldeburgh Strings, it offers not the usual all-string showpieces like the Frank Bridge Variations, but such less regarded works as Young Apollo and the Prelude and Fugue, Op. 29; together with the short but potent Lachrymae, their shared melancholy is an effective foil to the generally more ebullient Serenade. In that deft masterpiece, tenor Allan Clayton's hushed tone for 'Pastoral' is quite different from the dedicatee Peter Pears's more mellifluous approach, yet effective and engaging. And in the following Tennyson song, 'Nocturne', aided by the Aldeburgh Strings' splendidly evocative playing, Clayton sounds suitably heroic at the final 'Blow, bugle, blow'. Director Markus Daunert is clearly unafraid of looking at the score afresh: in 'Pastoral' he follows the score's marked faster tempo for 'Avery little, little flock' more faithfully than did Britten in his stereo recording, heightening that episode's whimsical tone. Horn soloist Richard Watkins is as familiar with this work as any other, having performed Serenade with Pears in 1983: he carries off the gambolling fanfares of 'Nocturne' and the 'Hymn' with panache, and in Blake's 'Elegy' his strangulated G naturals chillingly convey the rose's corruption.

The other works receive attentive and atmospheric accounts: Lorenzo Soules plays Young Apollo's glittering piano part with charismatic dash, though the accompanying string quartet sound intense rather than joyous, and the viola soloist in Lachrymae, Mate Suits, plays Britten's variations with feeling, though is rather matter-of-fact when the original Dowland melody finally emerges. 


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