BRITTEN CENTENARY CELEBRATION! LSO'S "TURN OF THE SCREW" & "WAR REQUIEM" PREMIERE PERFORMANCE
Friday November 22, 2013 marks 100 years since Benjamin Britten's birth, and to celebrate, harmonia mundi distribution offers two new releases of music by the legendary composer. The London Symphony Orchestra presents Britten's The Turn of the Screw, on LSO Live, recorded at London's Barbican Hall on April 16 and 18, 2013. The production was directed by Opera North Music Director Richard Farnes, and dedicated to LSO's late president Sir Colin Davis (1927-2013) who died just days before the performance.
The all-English cast includes soloists Andrew Kennedy, Sally Matthews, and 11-year old Michael Clayton-Jolly in the role of Miles. Originally scheduled to be conducted by Sir Colin Davis, Farnes was the natural replacement, having been mentored by the late conductor. Premiered in 1954, Britten's opera sets Henry James's remarkable ghost story about a governess and a housekeeper who vow to protect two children from the strange happenings that occur in the grounds of their home.
Also in December, Testament presents the live recording of Britten's magnificent War Requiem from its première performance by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra at Coventry Cathedral in May 1962. The performance is shattering, the sound, surprisingly clear and dynamic. The deep emotion of Wilfred Owen's poetry is portrayed with a power and sincerity that has rarely – if ever – been matched in modern recordings. "The first performance created an atmosphere of such intensity that by the end I was completely undone," German soloist Dietrich Fischer- Dieskau wrote in his autobiography. This recording is truly not one to be missed!