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Britten - Scottish Ensemble - Hi Fi Choice


10 July 2007
Hi Fi Choice
Alvin Gold
4½ Stars

Music: The Scottish Ensemble is a 12-strong chamber group. Its playing has a lean and pungent quality - try the opening of the Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge for a masterclass in making twelve musicians sound like fifty - along with impressive unison. The musicians work well in these three early works, apart from some occasionally suspect intonation from the horn, for example in the opening Prelude of the Serenade For Tenor, Horn and Strings, though elsewhere the horn playing is fresh energetic and exciting. In any case this does little to spoil what are undeniably masterpieces in each case from a fledgling Benjamin Britten. 

Sound: This is a full multichannel hybrid recording, recorded at Caird Hall, Dundee, which from this recording appears to lend itself wonderfully to the massive range of dynamics and colours produced by the instrumental and vocal forces at work here.


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