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Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, Op 49


A gap of fifteen years separates the somewhat experimental exuberance of Temporal Variations from the assured mastery of the Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, written for performance by Joy Boughton on the Meare at Thorpeness on 14 June 1951 during the Fourth Aldeburgh Festival. Like pieces of statuary in some classically conceived garden, these perfect miniatures catch the spirit of ancient Greece with playfulness, humour, compassion and tenderness. The sly languor of Pan, the ill-advised daring of Phaeton, the sad immobility of Niobe, the tipsy revelries of Bacchus and his troop of boys, Narcissus contemplating his own image, the tumbling fountain of Arethusa—all are caught in a perfectly conceived outdoor music that must have yielded pure enchantment at its first performance over the waters on that June afternoon.

from notes by Eric Roseberry © 1995

Un fossé de quinze ans sépare l’exubérance quelque peu expérimentale des Temporal Variations de la maîtrise assurée des Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, composées pour Joy Boughton qui les exécuta sur les bords de l’étang de Meare à Thorpeness, le 14 juin 1951, lors du Quatrième Festival d’Aldeburgh. A la manière des statues d’un jardin inspiré de l’antiquité, ces miniatures parfaites reprennent l’esprit de la Grèce antique avec gaieté, humour, compassion et tendresse. La langueur sournoise de Pan, l’audace peu judicieuse de Phaéton, la triste immobilité de Niobé, les festivités joyeuses de Bacchus et de sa troupe de jeunes hommes, Narcisse contemplant sa propre image, la fontaine d’Aréthuse déversant ses eaux, toutes ces images sont reprises en une musique d’extérieur élaborée à la perfection, qui répandit sans doute un pur enchantement lors de sa première représentation au bord de l’eau en cet après-midi de juin.

extrait des notes rédigées par Eric Roseberry © 1995
Français: Catherine Loridan

Fünfzehn Jahre liegen zwischen dem verhältnismäßig experimentellen Überschwang der Temporal Variations und der mit sicherer Meisterhand geführten Six Metmorphoses after Ovid, die für the Aufführung dutch Joy Boughton on the Meare irn Rahmen des Vierten Aideburgh Festivals am 14. Juni 1951 in Thorpeness gespielt wurden. Wie Statuen in einem klassisch angelegten Garten vermittein diese perfekten Miniaturen die Stimmung der alten Griechen mit ihrer Verspieltheit und Zärtlichkeit, ihrem Humor und Mitgefühl: Pan—träge und faulenzerisch, Phaeton—kühn und waghalsig, Niobe—apathisch und traurig, Bacchus und seine Gefährten—tunken und laut, Narzissus—eitel sein Selbstbildnis bewundernd, der plätschernde Brunnen der Arethusa—alle werden in einer perfekt konzipierten Musik für draußen gefangen, die bei ihrer ersten Aufführung über den Gewässern an diesem Juninachmittag reinste Verzaubening hervorgerufen haben muß.

aus dem Begleittext von Eric Roseberry © 1995
Deutsch: Meckie Hellary


Britten: Music for Oboe & Music for Piano
CDH55154Archive ServiceDownload currently discounted


No 1: Pan, who played upon the reed pipe which was Syrinx, his beloved
Track 6 on CDH55154 [1'54] Archive Service
No 2: Phaeton, who made upon the chariot of the sun for one day and was hurled into the river Padus by a thunderbolt
Track 7 on CDH55154 [1'29] Archive Service
No 3: Niobe, who, lamenting the death of her fourteen children, was turned into a mountain
Track 8 on CDH55154 [2'12] Archive Service
No 4: Bacchus, at whose feast is heard the noise of gaggling women's tattling tongues and shouting out of boys
Track 9 on CDH55154 [1'57] Archive Service
No 5: Narcissus, who fell in love with his own image and became a flower
Track 10 on CDH55154 [2'20] Archive Service
No 6: Arethusa, who, flying from the love of Alpheus the river god, was turned into a fountain
Track 11 on CDH55154 [2'39] Archive Service

Track-specific metadata for CDA66776 track 11

Arethusa, who, flying from the love of Alpheus the river god, was turned into a fountain
Recording date
23 June 1995
Recording venue
St Michael's Church, Highgate, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Martin Compton
Recording engineer
Antony Howell
Hyperion usage
  1. Britten: Music for Oboe & Music for Piano (CDA66776)
    Disc 1 Track 11
    Release date: October 1995
    Deletion date: July 2003
    Superseded by CDH55154
  2. Britten: Music for Oboe & Music for Piano (CDH55154)
    Disc 1 Track 11
    Release date: July 2003
    Deletion date: March 2014
    Archive Service
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