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Donald Macleod introduces Britten's Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac, which was premiered at the Aldeburgh Festival in 1952, plus excerpts from two operas and a ballet.

By 1952, when the Aldeburgh Festival was in its 5th year, Britten was nearing forty. By then, he and Pears were very much part of the fabric of the community there. Donald Macleod introduces Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac, which was premiered at the festival that year, extracts from two more operas - the first based on Henry James' ghostly novella Turn of the Screw and the second on Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream, plus another fairy-tale work - the ballet Prince of the Pagodas, complete with magical evocation of the Balinese gamelan.

1 hour

Music Played

  • Benjamin Britten

    Gloriana (Morris Dance)

    Performer: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Performer: Conductor André Previn

    • Telarc CD80126.
  • Benjamin Britten

    Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac

    Performer: Peter Pears (tenor) Performer: John Hahessy (alto) Performer: Benjamin Britten (piano)

    • London 425 716-2.
  • Benjamin Britten

    Turn of the Screw (extract)

    Performer: Ian Bostridge (Peter Quint) Performer: Julian Leang (Miles) Performer: Vivian Tierney (Miss Jessel) Performer: Caroline Wise (Flora) Performer: Joan Rodgers (Governess) Performer: Jane Henschel (Mrs Grose) Performer: Mahler Chamber Orchestra Performer: Conductor Daniel Harding

    • Virgin Classics VCD 545521.
  • Benjamin Britten

    Winter words – Midnight on the Great Western

    Performer: Anthony Rolfe Johnson (tenor) Performer: Graham Johnson (piano)

    • Helios CDH55067.
  • Benjamin Britten

    Prince of the Pagodas (extract)

    Performer: BBC Symphony Orchestra Performer: Conductor Leonard Slatkin

    • Chandos CHAN 10111.
  • Benjamin Britten

    Midsummer Night's Dream (extract)

    Performer: Alfred Deller (Oberon) Performer: Elizabeth Harwood (Tytania) Performer: Stephen Terry (Puck) Performer: Richard Dakin, John Pryer, Ian Wodehouse (Fairies) Performer: London Symphony Orchestra Performer: Conductor Benjamin Britten

    • London 425 663-2.

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