Britten Conducts Britten: Operas Vol.1 (8 CD box set, FLAC)
Britten Conducts Britten: Operas Vol.1 (8 CD box set, FLAC)

Performer: Anne Pashley, April Cantelo, Benjamin Luxon, Bryan Drake, Catherine Wilson, et al.
Orchestra: English Chamber Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra Covent Garden
Conductor: Benjamin Britten
Composer: Benjamin Britten
Audio CD
SPARS Code: ADD
Number of Discs: 8 CD box set
Format: FLAC (tracks+cue)
Label: Decca
Size: 2.37 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Disc: 1
01. Act 1. Scene 1. Flor-ence!… tell the midwife!
02. Act 1. Scene 1. Doctor Jessop’s midwife… mustn’t touch illegitimates
03. Act 1. Scene 1. I hope we’re not too early, Florence?
04. Act 1. Scene 1. Stuffy! Tobacco stink!
05. Act 1. Scene 1. Now then! Notebook, Florence!
06. Act 1. Scene 1. The first suggestion on my list is a charming local girl
07. Act 1. Scene 1. Is this all you can bring? Each single name reeking impurities
08. Act 1. Scene 1. Beggin’ your pardon
09. Act 1. Scene 1. Herring! Right! We’ll have him! May King!
10. Act 1. Interlude
11. Act 1. Scene 2. Bounce me high, bounce me low, bounce me up to Jericho!
12. Act 1. Scene 2. Shop! Hi! Albert!
13. Act 1. Scene 2. Tickling a trout, poaching a hare, fighting wild geese is pretty good sport
14. Act 1. Scene 2. Meet me at a quarter past eight
15. Act 1. Scene 2. He’s much too busy even to listen much less to care with Nancy there
16. Act 1. Scene 2. Good morning, young man
17. Act 1. Scene 2. We bring great news to you
18. Act 2. Scene 1. Isn’t he here?
19. Act 2. Scene 1. For three precious weeks we’ve been toiling, scraping
20. Act 2. Scene 1. Quickly, quickly, come along!
21. Act 2. Scene 1. Here they are, dears!
22. Act 2. Scene 1. My flowers are few

Disc: 2
01. Act 2. Scene 1. I’m full of happiness to be here in your midst on such a day as this
02. Act 2. Scene 1. As representing the local Council
03. Act 2. Scene 1. My heart leaps up with joy to see virtue and simplicity
04. Act 2. Scene 1. Er-humph! Er-humph! I’m no great shakes as a speechifier
05. Act 2. Scene 1. Well tried, Albert!
06. Act 2. Interlude
07. Act 2. Scene 2. Albert the Good! Long may he reign
08. Act 2. Scene 2. You oughtn’t to whistle! I told you that, Sid!
09. Act 2. Scene 2. Heaven helps those who help themselves!
10. Act 3. Introduction
11. Act 3. Is she asleep?
12. Act 3. I’m hungry, I’m tired, I’m sick of the sound of Albert!
13. Act 3. Give me a decent murder with a corpse!
14. Act 3. Have you found him?
15. Act 3. Fools! Fools! Blundering fools!
16. Act 3. In the midst of life is death
17. Act 3. I’m sorry about that
18. Act 3. I can’t remember everything
19. Act 3. Albert’s come back to stay

Disc: 3
01. Act 1. Prelude
02. Act 1. Scene 1. You’ve got your maps there?
03. Act 1. Scene 2. At last it’s out
04. Act 1. Scene 3. Your sherry, Mrs Coyle
05. Act 1. Scene 4. Oh, how unforeseen
06. Act 1. Scene 5. Sirrah! How dare you!
07. Act 1. Scene 6. Coyle, I wish I had not come
08. Act 1. Scene 7. May God bless the Queen, and this house

Disc: 4
01. Act 2. Prologue / Scene 1. There was a boy, a Wingrave born… Trumpeet blow, trumpet blow
02. Act 2. Scene 1. I envy you this fine old house
03. Act 2. Scene 1. “Paramore shall welcome woe!”
04. Act 2. Scene 1. “And with his friend young Lechmere played…”
05. Act 2. Scene 1. Now you may save your scornful looks
06. Act 2. Scene 1. Ah, Owen, what shall I do?
07. Act 2. Scene 2. Is that you, Coyle?
08. Act 2. Scene 2. Come in – It’s me, Lechmere… Ah, Owen, Owen you’ve gone!
09. Prologue. I am an old man who has experienced much
10. Act 1. Scene 1. Pull, my bantams! Pull, my sparrow-legs!… Who did that?
11. Act 1. Scene 1. Guard boat! Indomitable!
12. Act 1. Scene 1. First man forward!
13. Act 1. Scene 1. Your name? – Billy Budd, sir
14. Act 1. Scene 1. Billy Budd, king of the birds!

Disc: 5
01. Act 1. Scene 1. I heard, your honour!
02. Act 1. Scene 1. Come along kid! Come along!
03. Act 1. Scene 1. Christ! the poor chap, the poor little runt!
04. Act 1. Scene 1. What’s that? What’s those whistles?
05. Act 1. Scene 1. Starry Vere we call him
06. Act 1. Scene 2. Boy! – Yes, sir!
07. Act 1. Scene 2. Gentlemen, the King!
08. Act 1. Scene 2. Ay, at Spithead the men may have had their grievances
09. Act 1. Scene 2. We are, sir. Claggart is an able one… Land on the port bow, sir
10. Act 1. Scene 3. Blow her away. Blow her to Hilo
11. Act 1. Scene 3. We’re off to Samoa
12. Act 1. Scene 3. Hi! You… a… a…
13. Act 1. Scene 3. Over the water, over the ocean
14. Act 1. Scene 3. Come here. Remember your promise
15. Act 1. Scene 3. Billy!… Hist! Billy Budd!
16. Act 1. Scene 3. Dansker, old friend, glad to see you!

Disc: 6
01. Act 2. Scene 1. I don’t like the look of the mist
02. Act 2. Scene 1. With great regret I must disturb your honour
03. Act 2. Scene 1. Deck ahoy! Enemy sail on starboard bow!
04. Act 2. Scene 1. Who”ll volunteer to board ’em in the smoke?
05. Act 2. Scene 1. There you are again, Master-at-arms
06. Act 2. Scene 1. O this cursèd mist!
07. Act 2. Scene 2. Claggart, John Claggart, beware! I’m not so easily deceived
08. Act 2. Scene 2. Master-at-arms and foretopman, I speak to you both
09. Act 2. Scene 2. God o’ mercy!
10. Act 2. Scene 2. Gentlemen, William Budd here has killed the Master-at-arms
11. Act 2. Scene 2. William Budd, you are accused by Captain Vere of striking your superior officer, Jo
12. Act 2. Scene 2. Poor fellow, who could save him?
13. Act 2. Scene 2. I accept their verdict
14. Act 2. Scene 3. Look! Through the port comes the moon-shine astray!
15. Act 2. Scene 3. Here! Baby!
16. Act 2. Scene 3. And farewell to ye, old Rights o Man!
17. Act 2. Interlude
18. Act 2. Scene 4. “According to the Articles of War…”
19. Act 2. Scene 4. Down all hands! And see that they go!
20. Act 2. Epilogue. We committed his body to the deep

Disc: 7
01. Prologue. Peter Grimes! Peter Grimes!
02. Prologue. You sailed your boat round the coast
03. Prologue. Peter Grimes, I here advise you!
04. Prologue. The truth… the pity… and the truth
05. Interlude 1. On the beach (Dawn)
06. Act 1. Scene 1. Oh! hang at open doors the net, the cork… Come in, gentlemen, come in!
07. Act 1. Scene 1. Hi! Give us a hand! Haul the boat!… Grimes, you won’t need help from now
08. Act 1. Scene 1. I have to go from pub to pub, picking up parcels, standing about
09. Act 1. Scene 1. Let her among you without fault cast the first stone
10. Act 1. Scene 1. Look, the storm cone!
11. Act 1. Scene 1. And do you prefer the storm to Auntie’s parlour and the rum?
12. Act 1. Scene 1. What harbour shelters peace, away from tidal waves
13. Act 1. Interlude 2. The Storm
14. Act 1. Scene 2. Past time to close!
15. Act 1. Scene 2. We live and let live, and look we keep our hands to ourselves
16. Act 1. Scene 2. Have you heard? The cliff is down up by Grimes’s hut
17. Act 1. Scene 2. Now the Great Bear and Pleiades
18. Act 1. Scene 2. Old Joe has gone fishing
19. Act 1. Scene 2. The bridge is down, we half swam over
20. Act 2. Interlude 3. Sunday morning by the beach
21. Act 2. Scene 1. Glitter of waves and glitter of sunlight
22. Act 2. Scene 1. Let this be a holiday, full of peace and quietness
23. Act 2. Scene 1. This unrelenting work, this grey unresting industry, what aim
24. Act 2. Scene 1. Fool to let it come to this!
25. Act 2. Scene 1. What is it? – What do you suppose? Grimes is at his exercise
26. Act 2. Scene 1. People!… No! I will speak!… This thing concerns you all

Disc: 8
01. Act 2. Scene 1. We planned that their lives should have a new start
02. Act 2. Scene 1. Swallow! Shall we go and see Grimes in his hut?
03. Act 2. Scene 1. Now is gossip put on trial
04. Act 2. Scene 1. From the gutter, why should we trouble at their ribaldries?
05. Act 2. Interlude 4 (Passacaglia)
06. Act 2. Scene 2. Go there! Here’s your sea boots!
07. Act 2. Scene 2. Now!… Now!… – There’s an odd procession here
08. Act 2. Scene 2. Peter Grimes! Nobody here?
09. Act 3. Interlude 5. Evening
10. Act 3. Scene 1. Assign your prettiness to me
11. Act 3. Scene 1. Pah! – Ahoy!
12. Act 3. Scene 1. Come along, Doctor! We’re not wanted here, we oldsters… Is the boat in?
13. Act 3. Scene 1. Embroidery in childhood was a luxury of idleness
14. Act 3. Scene 1. Mr Swallow! Mr Swallow!
15. Act 3. Scene 1. Who holds himself apart, lets his pride rise
16. Act 3. Interlude 6. Fog
17. Act 3. Scene 2. Grimes! Grimes!
18. Act 3. Scene 2. Peter, we’ve come to take you home
19. Act 3. Scene 2. To those who pass the Borough

# Albert Herring, chamber opera, Op. 39
Composed by Benjamin Britten
Performed by English Chamber Orchestra
with Sheila Rex, Catherine Wilson, Joseph Ward, Johanna Peters, Edgar Evans, Sylvia Fisher, April Cantelo, Owen Brannigan, Sheila Amit, Anne Pashley, Stephen Terry, Peter Pears, John Noble
Conducted by Benjamin Britten

# Owen Wingrave, opera, Op. 85
Composed by Benjamin Britten
Performed by English Chamber Orchestra
with Heather Harper, Sylvia Fisher, Wandsworth School Boys’ Choir, Benjamin Luxon, John Shirley-Quirk, Jennifer Vyvyan, Peter Pears, Dame Janet Baker, Nigel Douglas
Conducted by Benjamin Britten

# Billy Budd, opera, Op. 50
Composed by Benjamin Britten
Performed by London Symphony Orchestra
with Peter Glossop, David Read, Michael Langdon, Delme Bryn-Jones, Nigel Rogers, Eric Garrett, Benjamin Luxon, Henry Bush, Peter Pears, Bryan Drake, Norman Lumsden, James Newby, Geoffrey Coleby, Owen Brannigan, John Shirley-Quirk, Robert Tear
Conducted by Benjamin Britten

# Peter Grimes, opera, Op. 33
Composed by Benjamin Britten
Performed by Covent Garden Royal Opera House Chorus and Orchestra
with Sir Geraint Evans, Iris Kells, Claire Watson, James Pease, John Lanigan, Owen Brannigan, Raymond Nilsson, Marion Studholme, Lauris Elms, David Kelly, Jean Watson, Peter Pears
Conducted by Benjamin Britten

Britten Composed AND Conducted? Of course he gets 5 stars!

Being a Britten junkie, I was thrilled to discover that not only is his entire collection of operas available in two sets, but the set is conducted by the composer himself. For a Britten lover, that’s like getting an original copy of the Ten Commandments written directly by the finger of God!

Despite any small flaws in the sound quality and production and performance, the recordings are clean and lovely. I did not notice any flaws, because I was too caught up with the exceptional story-weaving and musical genius before me. But had there been flaws, I’m sure they were minimal and unimportant.

Most of all, I am thrilled that I am able to compare my own musical interpretation of these pieces with that conducted by the composer himself. That provides an incredible insight into the wishes of the creator as to the desired sound.

For those not familiar with Britten’s work, I encourage you to start with his War Requiem, learn the story behind the composition, and then listen a couple of times. These works, as with most of Britten’s works, are not initially easy to listen to. They are saturated in emotion and stark reality. The composing consists of minimalistic touches and atonal influences so common in the 1900’s when Britten was creating.

However, for those interested in modern or English opera, Britten is an excellent source of material. For musicians, specifically vocalists, interested indeveloping a more diverse repertoire of song, these operas provide a huge range of arias that may be used by any proficient vocalist.

I don’t pretend to think that everyone will appreciate this music. if you like soft, pretty music, don’t buy this. If you are familiar with Carmen and such operas, this will be a shock. But if you truly desire to grow musicially, you will find a wealth of inspiration and joy here.

4 Comments

  1. Hi , Tracks 4 , 5 and 8 of disc 4 are corrupted . I
    have tried to recover them without success . I have also downloaded from all three hosts with the same results . Any chance of a new rip ?

    Thank you for the music .

    1. Hi, sorry, just realized I posted the same issue on the thread for Vol. II. Yes, same experience here. The track extensions should be .flac, not .fla as they should. Probably got truncated by mistake??? Tried to fix, but no luck. You can listen on VLC player, but can’t do much else with them. As John says, a new rip would be great!!!
      Thanks loads.

  2. :) Just rename the files and change the extension to .flac eh, presto, music maestro! Thanks for the upload BTW.

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