Benjamin Britten

John Pitt
New Classics (UK)

During the Romantic period, folk music became inspired many composers, including Haydn and Beethoven, and later became an even more important for Liszt, Brahms, Bruch, Tchaikovsky and Dvorak. In the 20th century, English folk music was arranged by Percy Grainger, Vaughan Williams, Holst, Malcolm Arnold and Benjamin Britten, who made numerous voice-and-piano arrangements and often performed them with his partner, Sir Peter Pears. Tenor Steve Davislim’s timbre and passionate style of singing is often reminiscent of that of Pears in this excellent collection of Britten’s folksong arrangements. The acclaimed Australian singer has acquired an increasing reputation at home and as an international star in many of the world’s top opera houses and concert halls, having sung roles with La Scala, the Deutsche Staatsoper in Berlin, The Royal Opera, the Volksoper in Vienna, the Paris Châtelet and Chicago Lyric Opera and worked with conductors John Eliot Gardiner, Colin Davis, Valery Gergiev and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. He is accompanied on this recording by fellow Australian Simone Young, who is well-known to British audiences for her judging role in BBC 2’s Maestro series last summer and is recognised as a leading conductor of her generation. For this recital she is at the piano, playing an equal part in conveying the atmosphere and tender emotion of these deceptively simple miniatures. The 24 songs include such favourites as ‘The Salley Gardens’, ‘The Ash Grove’, ‘Sweet Polly’, ‘The Foggy, Foggy Dew’, ‘Early One Morning’, ‘Tom Bowling’, ‘Greensleeves’, ‘Oft in the Stilly Night’ and ‘The Last Rose of Summer’. This Hybrid SACD comes with an extensive colour booklet containing an essay and all song texts.