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Cat. No. CHAN 10590 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10590 - Susan Gritton - Sings Britten/ Finzi/Delius
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Audio Sample


Available From: 01 April 2010
Susan Gritton sings Finzi, Britten and Delius – BBC SO, Edward Gardner

The Musical Director of ENO here conducts a superb programme of works by three English composers.

The quintessence of Finzi, Dies natalis sets texts by the seventeenth-century poet Thomas Traherne, which reflect the joy and wonder of a newborn child’s innocent perspective on the world. The richly textured, resourceful string writing and the long melodic lines are hallmarks of Finzi’s style. The subtle inflections of the word-setting and lyricism have attracted many leading vocalists both in concert and on disc. Although particularly associated with the tenor voice, Dies natalis was premiered by a soprano, and it is increasingly performed with the original voice type.

Here, for the first time on disc, is the version of Delius’s A Late Lark for soprano voice and it is currently the only available recording of the work. A setting of W.E. Henley’s poem ‘I.M. Margaritæ Sorori’, it offers a lovely lyrical reflection of the serene acceptance of death and is especially poignant as it was one of Delius’s last works. Eric Fenby, Delius’s friend and amanuensis, recalls that one day after he had read the poem through to Delius, ‘and had finished playing his setting, [Delius] said, “Yes, that is how I want to go.”’

Susan Gritton, one of Britain’s leading lyric sopranos, who also appears on Chandos’ Grammy Award© winning recording of Paul Bunyan, here includes the Quatre Chansons françaises, the most significant work of Britten’s juvenilia. The songs, to texts by Verlaine and Hugo, were composed between June and August 1928 when Britten was a mere fourteen, and demonstrate the flair for instrumental colour that was to become the hallmark of the mature composer. The album is completed by the later song cycle Les Illuminations which offers a further development in his exploration of the orchestral song cycle, a genre that Britten was to make very much his own during his career.


“…These performances make strong cases for all these works and also provide a fine platform for the many facets of Susan Gritton’s voice.”
Richard Nicholson

theclassicalsource.com - 7 June 2010

                         “Gramophone Recommends”
“Gritton and Gardner provide thrills aplently in these sensitive accounts.” “All in all, a very positive recommendation.”
Andrew Achenbach

Gramophone - July 2010

                 “Recording of the Fortnight”
“An English sense of pastoral lyricism runs through all three works but they represent very different challenges and each, from first note to last, is gloriously performed here.”   *****
Phillip Sommerich

Classical Music Magazine - 22 May 2010

“…Susan Gritton acquits herself well, with scrupulous conducting from Gardner.”  ****
Richard Lawrence

Classic FM Magazine - June 2010

“…there is much to admire in her [Gritton]delicate, considered vocalism, as well as in her refined musicianship.” “Edward Gardner’s support, … is invaluable throughout. With the BBC string players on sterling form…”
George Hall

BBC Music Magazine - June 2010

“…Gritton’s performance is lustrous and joyous…”    ****
Andrew Clements

The Guardian - 16 April 2010


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