These are outstanding performances, as good or better than the composer's own. Edward Gardner tears into the Four Sea Interludes with uninhibited excitement. It's great to hear the high violins and flutes in "Dawn" swooping and soaring like the gulls that they're supposed to be evoking. "Sunday Morning" has an infectious bounce, while "Moonlight" casts a rapt stillness abruptly shattered by perhaps the most vicious storm on disc.
This Collector's Edition presents a challenge to reviewers. There's so much of it. I could never do it any sort of justice if I approached this as if reviewing a smaller set. This, after all, comprises 37 CDs. As it is all I have been able to do is to sample, reminisce about known recordings and write around the subject. With this caveat stated, let's make a start.
There are three principal strands of Britten recordings. These are broadly tied into and defined by record companies, artists and eras. First we have Britten recording Britten for Decca.
"…I feel with this recording, Michael Stern and the Kansas City Orchestra are now major player's in the classical music world. Superb!! Highly recommended." ~sa-cd.net
One of the chief characteristics of Benjamin Britten's music is his masterful and highly distinctive orchestration, and the works on this album are among his most prized for that hallmark of his originality: the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, the Sinfonia da requiem, and the Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia from the opera Peter Grimes.
This audio complement to "A History of Western Music" includes recordings of all the works appearing in "The Norton Anthology of Western Music". As in the previous edition, the recordings are of the highest quality and are performed by outstanding groups and soloists. New track references in the textbook allow students to locate the recorded works on the CD set as they read the corresponding discussions in the text. The collection features 20 new works, plus an additional 14 new recordings of works included in the previous edition