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Music for Voice & Guitar


Price: CDN$ 44.99
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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B000003FG1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #214,426 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
most people will get this cd for britten's songs from the chinese, nocturnal for solo guitar, and the folk song arrangements included here, but these works are not among his best. the nocturnal is a little too verbose, and the arrangements of the folk songs aren't particularly distinctive. the chinese cycle is worthwhile, although certainly not up to the caliber of winter words or the michelangelo sonnets cycle. still, all three have moments worth hearing, particularly among the slower sections. examples include "the autumn wind" in the songs from the chinese and the first movement, "musingly", of the nocturnal.
along with these works by britten, the disc also includes other songs for guitar and voice and these are what make the disc worth getting. bream is ideal and masterful. i believe this is one of pears' later recordings, and he gets a little too carried away at times (for example, at the end of "i gave her cakes"), but he really shines in the pensive, lyrical songs of each cycle presented here, recalling his role as peter grimes. of particular note are his performance in seiber's french folk song arrangements, the first half of the walton cycle, the second lute song from britten's gloriana, and the fricker setting of shakespeare.
the sound has a few spots of static where the vocal was too loud, but they may have been present on the original recording. the liner notes don't include any of the texts, which is a pity, nor is the nocturnal divided into 8 tracks for its 8 movements. still, all in all, worth having if you're a pears or bream fan, and if you're a fan of britten you probably have this disc already.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Twentieth Century Gems June 13 2009
By B. Arthur - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Julian Bream, though now retired, was the pre-eminent guitarist of the twentieth century. There were more accomplished technicians, but few came close to his expressive abilities. He always got to the heart of the music whether Renaissance, Classical, Hispanic, Latin American or `Modern'. His great legacies are his recordings and the many compositions he commissioned or inspired from major composers. Sir Peter Pears was one of the great tenors of the twentieth century and Britten's lifelong partner. Most of the music herein was written for Bream and Pears to perform. This CD contains song cycles by Britten and Walton, as well as the first recording of Britten's Nocturnal for guitar solo.

The music is not for easy listening, but will hugely reward your effort in getting to know it. The Britten and Walton song cycles are compositions for voice and guitar rather than mere accompanied songs. Both composers in their own styles capture the mood and enhance meaning of the lyrics. Songs from the Chinese are philosophical and have an Oriental flavour. The Folk Song Arrangements stay close to the original melody in the vocal while the guitar part is adventurous, unashamedly `modern' but appropriate to the words. Anon in Love presents an earthier, but equally satisfying set. The Four French Folk Songs of Seiber are composed in a more straightforward, almost classical, style. Very enjoyable they are too. O Mistress Mine is a `modern' setting of Shakespeare's song by Fricker. It sounds like Bream is playing his lute in the lute song from Gloriana. Britten's Nocturnal is a set of reverse variations on John Dowland's Come Heavy Sleep ending with Dowland's original theme. It captures restlessness and mystery of disturbed dreams and the peace of dreamless sleep in it's many moods. This is one of the crown jewels of twentieth century guitar music performed brilliantly by its dedicatee.

Bream and Pears perform these pieces with superb ensemble and utter conviction. These are great performances of mostly little known gems of twentieth century music. At the time of writing, this CD is deleted from the catalogue. It should be re-issued for posterity. If you like either of the performers, or any of the composers, this is an essential recording. Get it if you can.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
One of my favorite records April 18 2005
By Warren M. Sirota - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I'm buying the CD now to replace my very-scratched LP. I'm no connoisseur of vocal music, but I am a big guitar fan (and player) and a Taoist, so "Big Chariot" speaks most eloquently to me... but the entire "Songs from the Chinese" set from Britten was a trememdous discovery to me the first time I heard the LP many years ago. And, as a bonus, you have those great ribald songs on it, like "To Couple is A Custom". Overall, a fabulous, unique find if your tastes run to voice+guitar+sense of humor.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
the britten is okay, but the rest is much better June 21 2003
By spacedog - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
most people will get this cd for britten's songs from the chinese, nocturnal for solo guitar, and the folk song arrangements included here, but these works are not among his best. the nocturnal is a little too verbose, and the arrangements of the folk songs aren't particularly distinctive. the chinese cycle is worthwhile, although certainly not up to the caliber of winter words or the michelangelo sonnets cycle. still, all three have moments worth hearing, particularly among the slower sections. examples include "the autumn wind" in the songs from the chinese and the first movement, "musingly", of the nocturnal.
along with these works by britten, the disc also includes other songs for guitar and voice and these are what make the disc worth getting. bream is ideal and masterful. i believe this is one of pears' later recordings, and he gets a little too carried away at times (for example, at the end of "i gave her cakes"), but he really shines in the pensive, lyrical songs of each cycle presented here, recalling his role as peter grimes. of particular note are his performance in seiber's french folk song arrangements, the first half of the walton cycle, the second lute song from britten's gloriana, and the fricker setting of shakespeare.
the sound has a few spots of static where the vocal was too loud, but they may have been present on the original recording. the liner notes don't include any of the texts, which is a pity, nor is the nocturnal divided into 8 tracks for its 8 movements. still, all in all, worth having if you're a pears or bream fan, and if you're a fan of britten you probably have this disc already.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Glimpse at the Treasure Jan. 27 2008
By R. O'Donnell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I loved the music on the 33 rpm record and expect to love it again. Yes, second reviewer, I remember most vividly and fondly the Britten suite but no doubt will find the others, now forgotten, as delightful as I once did. Nostalgic I am (my grandson is watching Starwars videos over&over again). Music For Voice & Guitar


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