Thursday, 2 October 2008

Benjamin Britten: works for piano and orchestra on Hyperion

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) Piano Concerto in D Major Op.13 (1938) (CD includes original version of the third movement) Young Apollo Op.16 for piano, string quartet and string orchestra (1939)
Diversions for piano (left hand) and orchestra Op.21 (1940)

"I first heard this new CD in HMV Oxford Street. I was browsing under the letter ‘B’ when I suddenly became aware of hearing a superb performance of the opening ‘Toccata’ of Britten’s Piano Concerto. It was one of the best renditions that I had ever heard – in spite of the noise in the shop and the sounds of less-challenging music percolating into the ‘classical’ section. Of course, I was brought up on Sviatoslav Richter’s fine performance of this work on the ‘old’ Decca recording with Mark Lubotsky and the English Chamber Orchestra. In addition, I have Joanna MacGregor’s notable release on Naxos. However, what I was hearing in the record-shop had a pizzazz about it that I found thrilling and thoroughly impressive. Of course, I went over to the assistant and asked him who was playing. He looked at me and said “Britten” – I was tempted to make remarks about ‘still in diapers’ etc. but I forewent sarcasm, smiled sweetly and said, “No, who is playing”? He found the cover and told me, “Steven Osborne”. Then the penny dropped: I remembered that Len Mullenger was sending me this disc for review. Now, I could not wait. Fortunately I still had a deal of browsing to do, so I heard the rest of the Concerto, Young Apollo and the first few Diversions – until my mobile went and my friend asked me where I was and when would I be arriving at The Gluepot...!"

Please read the entire review at MusicWeb International

1 comment:

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