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Hyperion Records

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Sunset over Sea by Richard E Smith (b1966)
Private Collection / © Special Photographers Archive / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67801
Recording details: January 2011
City Halls, Candleriggs, Glasgow, Scotland
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Simon Eadon & Dave Rowell
Release date: February 2012
Total duration: 13 minutes 8 seconds

Lachrymae, Op 48a
'Reflections on a song of Dowland' (If my complaints could passions move); arranged for viola and string orchestra in 1976; based on Op 48 for viola and piano, written in 1950 for William Primrose who gave the premiere with Britten in Aldeburgh in 1950

Other recordings available for download
Roger Chase (viola), The Nash Ensemble, Lionel Friend (conductor)
Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
While working on Billy Budd in the first half of 1950 Britten broke off from the opera to compose Lachrymae, his only mature piece for viola and piano, for the distinguished viola player William Primrose whom he had met the previous year when touring the United States. Primrose gave the first performance at the 1950 Aldeburgh Festival with the composer at the piano. Twenty-five years later, in the last year of his life, Britten orchestrated the piano part for strings to create a concertante piece, Op 48a, for Cecil Aronowitz, another distinguished violist and close professional colleague.

Lachrymae is a series of variations on the first phrase of Dowland’s song ‘If my complaints could passions move’. Following a Lento introduction in which the song is quoted in the bass of the piano part, a sequence of contrasting ‘reflections’ ensues. In the sixth, Appassionato, Britten quotes from another Dowland song, ‘Flow my tears’. The last section returns by means of a slow crescendo to Dowland’s original melody and harmony, when it is heard complete for the first time. Britten’s exploration of the Dowland material is extremely thorough, and it generates not only the principal melodic material but the harmonic vocabulary as well. Such is its organic resourcefulness that the techniques used in Lachrymae are reminiscent of the exhaustive musical derivations to be found in the Church Parables of the subsequent decade.

from notes by Philip Reed © 1996

Other albums featuring this work
'Britten: Phaedra & other works' (CDH55225)
Britten: Phaedra & other works
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £13.99 (ARCHIVE SERVICE) CDH55225  Helios (Hyperion's budget label) — Archive Service  

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