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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDH55225
Recording details: November 1995
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Andrew Keener
Engineered by Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Release date: May 1996
Total duration: 4 minutes 14 seconds

'A chronologically wide-ranging Britten programme performed with unerring sensitivity and much quiet insight. With first-rate sound and balance throughout, this is an excellent anthology' (Gramophone)

'A fascinating collection of neglected Britten, excellent playing from the Nash Ensemble and first-rate recording' (The Penguin Guide to Compact Discs)

'The Nash Ensemble performances are brilliant and brilliantly recorded. There is a clarity and urgency to the performances that reveals much of the inner workings of Britten's music' (American Record Guide)

'Satisfaction is guaranteed' (Classic FM Magazine)

'This consistently enjoyable and stimulating disc' (Classic CD)

'A fascinating disc in which the straight line from early to late Britten is highly visible' (Fanfare, USA)

Night Mail. End sequence
composer
1936; written for the GPO Film Unit
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
On leaving the College, Britten was determined at all costs to make his living as a professional composer. To this end he began to write incidental music for the GPO Film Unit (whose reputation for experimentation was second to none), as well as for small theatre companies such as the Group and Left Theatres, and for BBC radio. In 1936 Britten and the poet W H Auden, also briefly employed at the Film Unit, collaborated on Night Mail, probably the most celebrated of all 1930s documentary films. It tells the story of the special postal express train collecting, sorting and delivering mail as it travels overnight from London to Glasgow. One of Britten’s and Auden’s most striking contributions to the film comes in the famous end sequence, with its remarkable synthesis of potent visual images, Auden’s text (a kind of patter spoken in strict rhythm with the music) and Britten’s brilliantly conceived score.

from notes by Philip Reed © 1996

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