Aldeburgh Strings - Britten: Serenade - Classic FM
This enjoyable album, including some Britten rarities like Young Apollo and the Prelude and Fugue, draws on recordings made at the Snape Maltings between October 2012 and April 2015. It's fairly short weight at only 55 minutes, but any concerns about that should be set aside, because of the exceptional performance here of the Serenade , one of the great masterpieces of British music. The tenor Allan Clayton, is an artist for whom I have the highest regard, because of both the quality of his voice and his calibre as a musician. And the playing of the hornist Richard Watkins is also truly exceptional. The opening phrase of the serenade's Pastoral makes clear that Clayton is blessed with the same sort of high tenor voice as the singer for whom the piece was written, Britten's partner Peter Pears, but without what I can only describe as the strangulated, drowning-the-cat, timbres that, if truth be told, irritated all but Pears' most dedicates admirers. As such, this is a performance so worth treasuring, that even if you don't want the whole album, you should download this. By the way, this recording mainly features the Aldeburgh Strings, a group put together from visiting musicians, rather as they do at Bayreuth, so the viola player Mate Szucs plays in the Berlin Philharmonic, whilst the director, the violinist Markus Daunert, is leader of both the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. Quite a pedigree.