Arcadia Lost

04/03/2012
Andrew McGregor
‘CD Review’ BBC Radio 3

Wigglesworth and his Sydneysiders build the funereal tread of that first movement beautifully to the climax, and that brooding intensity leads to the violent outburst of the Dies Irae before the moving resolution of the finale. Perhaps this is the Lost Arcadia of the discs title.

Now Arcadia is more easily found in the works by Vaughan Williams that surround the Britten; The Lark Ascending in that perfectly pleasant performance is the only one to be slightly disturbed by noises on stage and off. A wonderfully coloured, sensuous Flos Campi, and on the other side of the Sinfonia da Requiem, the only performance to take us outside the Sydney Opera House, On Wenlock Edge with Tenor Steve Davislim, in eloquent form with the Hamer Quartet and pianist Benjamin Martin.

If the programme appeals - and I think it’s unique - then buy it – the Britten is the stuff, and it’s luxuriously packaged on Australia’s Melba label; a hybrid SACD.