Hyperion Records

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

'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  
Track 28 on CDH55225 [4'14] Helios (Hyperion's budget label) — Archive Service

Night Mail. End sequence
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

Track-specific metadata
Details for CDH55225 track 28
Recording date
22 November 1995
Recording venue
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Andrew Keener
Recording engineer
Antony Howell & Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Britten: Phaedra & other works (CDA66845)
    Disc 1 Track 28
    Release date: May 1996
    Deletion date: November 2004
    Superseded by CDH55225
  2. Britten: Phaedra & other works (CDH55225)
    Disc 1 Track 28
    Release date: January 2006
    Deletion date: February 2014
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label) — Archive Service
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