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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDH55244
Recording details: April 1991
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: March 1992
Total duration: 7 minutes 58 seconds

'Rolfe Johnson is in superb voice … this disc is an outstanding example of his artistry' (Gramophone)

'A superlative Hyperion disc … most notable is the Hyperion team presided over by Anthony Rolfe Johnson, whose 1991 recording has become one of the jewels in the record label's crown … Rolfe Johnson's pairing with countertenor Michael Chance in Abraham and Isaac is deeply moving as they enact what is essentially a miniature drama, and the tenor's mellifluous singing is a joy throughout this disc' (The Daily Telegraph)

'Un superbe disque d'approfondissement de la musique de Britten' (EcouterVoir, France)

Canticle I 'My beloved is mine and I am his', Op 40
First line:
Ev'n like two little bank divided brooks
composer
1947; for the memorial service for Dick Sheppard
author of text
A Divine Rapture, quoting from The Song of Songs

Other recordings available for download
Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor), Graham Johnson (piano)
James Gilchrist (tenor), Anna Tilbrook (piano)
Ben Johnson (tenor), James Baillieu (piano)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Britten’s five Canticles were composed across a period of some twenty-five years and each is concerned, to a varying extent, with religious themes. Their extended, multi-sectional form derives from the dramatic songs and Divine Hymns of Purcell, many realizations of which Britten had made before writing his first Canticle, 'My beloved is mine', in September 1947. It is a setting of a text by Francis Quarles, characteristic of much mystical poetry since The Song of Songs in its quasi-erotic imagery, which is beautifully caught in Britten’s cantata-like setting – a sequence of barcarolle, recitative, scherzo and lento coda. Writing in 1952, Peter Pears was of the opinion that Canticle I was ‘Britten’s finest piece of vocal music to date’ and it still compares well with almost anything he wrote later. Much of its quality derives from the expressive and sometimes highly melismatic freedom of vocal writing.

from notes by John Evans © 1986


Other albums featuring this work
'Britten: Song Cycles' (CKD404)
Britten: Song Cycles
MP3 £8.00FLAC £10.00ALAC £10.00 Studio Master: FLAC 24-bit 96 kHz £18.00ALAC 24-bit 96 kHz £18.00 CKD404  Download only   Studio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available
'Britten: The Canticles' (SIGCD317)
Britten: The Canticles
MP3 £6.99FLAC £6.99ALAC £6.99 SIGCD317  Download only  
'Britten: Michelangelo Sonnets & Winter Words' (CDH55067)
Britten: Michelangelo Sonnets & Winter Words
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55067  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  

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