Purcell, Schubert, Schumann, Fauré & Britten

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Fauré & Britten,Purcell,Schubert,Schumann
LABELS: BBC Legends Music
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Britten the Performer
WORKS: Songs by Purcell, Schubert, Schumann, Fauré & Britten
PERFORMER: Peter Pears (tenor), Benjamin Britten (pno)
CATALOGUE NO: BBCB 8006-2 ADD mono

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‘Britten the performer’ should really be ‘Britten the pianist’, whom Gerald Moore rated above all song accompanists. These live recordings (1958) over-favoured the voice and were far from ideally balanced; the remastered applause is disagreeably harsh, and the piano distant and under-nourished. Nevertheless, Britten’s sensitive touch and range of colour are everywhere apparent. Pears’s word-centred approach best suits the English songs and Schumann; he was on top form, with a few harsh moments, easily forgiven, and wonderful control. I cannot previously recall hearing them in Fauré, but once adjusted to Pears’s idiosyncratic French, I found this marvellous cycle exciting and moving.

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Julian Rushton