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Benjamin Britten (1913-1976)

Christ's Nativity & other choral works

Holst Singers, Stephen Layton (conductor)
Download only
Label: Hyperion
Recording details: October 1995
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: November 1995
Total duration: 66 minutes 26 seconds
 

This recording brings together a selection of Britten’s choral music for Christmastide, a season much enjoyed by the composer to the end of his life and one in which he celebrated in an extraordinarily diverse manner. The earliest work is A Hymn to the Virgin, composed in 1930 to an anonymous fourteenth-century text. Christ’s Nativity is a fascinating work from Britten’s student days which is here receiving its premiere recording.

A Boy was Born has always been a central part of the repertoire. The sequence of five highly individual and virtuoso variations are set for mixed voices and boys’ choir while A Shepherd’s Carol, written in the 1940s after Britten’s return from America reflects the easy, laid-back approach of American popular music of that period.

Reviews

‘Their commitment to what they are singing rings out with every note. A Boy was Born is imbued with more ravishing feeling than I would have thought possible’ (Organists' Review)

«Remarquable! Les Holst Singers se révèlent être de remarquables interprètes de leur cher répertoire national. Cette anthologie atteste du niveau vocal et musical de ce choeur (et donc de leur chef Stephen Layton)» (Diapason, France)

'Interpretaciones tan refrescantes como escrupulosas' (CD Compact, Spain)
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