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English Song - Pears & Britten

Bennett, R R: Tom O’Bedlam’s Song with Joan Dickson (cello) Berkeley, L: How Love Came In with Benjamin Britten (piano) Bridge: Tis but a week with Benjamin Britten (piano) Goldenhair with Benjamin Britten (piano) When you are old with Benjamin Britten (piano) So perverse with Benjamin Britten (piano) Journey's end with Benjamin Britten (piano) Go Not, Happy Day with Benjamin Britten (piano) Love went a-riding with Benjamin Britten (piano) Britten: Folksongs (selection) with Benjamin Britten (piano) Let the florid music praise! (from On this Island) with Benjamin Britten (piano) Busch, W: If thou wilt ease thine heart with Viola Tunnard (piano) Come, o come, my life's delight with Viola Tunnard (piano) Two Songs of William Blake with Viola Tunnard (piano) Bush, A: Voices of the Prophets with Alan Bush (piano) Butterworth, G: Is My Team Ploughing? with Benjamin Britten (piano) Delius: To Daffodils with Viola Tunnard (piano) Dieren: Dream Pedlary with Viola Tunnard (piano) Take, o take those lips away with Viola Tunnard (piano) Grainger: Bold William Taylor with Viola Tunnard (piano) Holst: Persephone (No. 1 from 12 Songs Op. 48) with Benjamin Britten (piano) Ireland: The Land of Lost Content with Benjamin Britten (piano) The Trellis with Benjamin Britten (piano) Three Songs with Benjamin Britten (piano) I Have Twelve Oxen with Benjamin Britten (piano) Moeran: The Merry Month of May with Viola Tunnard (piano) In youth is pleasure with Benjamin Britten (piano) Oldham, A: Chinese Lyrics (3) with Benjamin Britten (piano) Rainier: Cycle for Declamation Tippett: Songs for Ariel with Benjamin Britten (piano) Warlock: Piggesnie with Viola Tunnard (piano) Along the Stream with Viola Tunnard (piano) Yarmouth Fair

Benjamin Britten (piano) Peter Pears (tenor)

Decca Eloquence: 480 1273 [2 CD - 158 mins]

A generous selection of Pears & Britten in recital at their youthful prime - 1954-64.

Great to have again nine of the folksong settings, which I studied intensively with my son Simon, who went on to record his LP of English Song with Tippett's Songs for Ariel & the Oldham Chinese Lyrics included here.

They are mostly accompanied by Britten himself, incomparable at the piano. Pears' diction is so immaculate that you don't feel the lack of texts, most of which can be found easily on Emily Ezust's website.

Mostly recorded by John Culshaw and superbly remastered, this compilation is self recommending, and convenient even if you have some of the originals.

There is a substantial 5-page essay by Kenneth Chalmers and these recordings will give hours of pleasure.

An obligatory purchase.

Peter Grahame Woolf