Mark Padmore - Benjamin Britten: Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings

Mark Padmore - Benjamin Britten: Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings
Genre: Classical
Duration: 01:18:18
Recording Date: February, 2011
Artist: Mark Padmore
Album: Benjamin Britten: Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings
Release Date: May 7, 2012
Styles: Vocal Music

Tenor Mark Padmore has an ideal voice for these two Britten song cycles written for Peter Pears. He has the kind of musical sensitivity and attentiveness to textual subtleties that characterized Pears' singing. His voice is essentially light in the way that Pears' was, but his is infinitely more attractive. Its tone is clear and pure, with none of Pears' nasal quality, and can be sweet without sounding precious. Padmore's technique seems absolutely secure and while his instrument is not large, he can produce an impressive range of dynamics. He and horn player Stephen Bell deliver a terrific performance of the Serenade for tenor, horn, and strings, and Jacqueline Shave's leadership of the Britten Sinfonietta is energetic and nuanced. Padmore's phrasing is shapely and expressive and he can spin out the seamless legato most of these songs require. In "Hymn," he and Bell sing and play with nimble fleetness that seems thrillingly close to the edge of spinning out of control but that ultimately lands safely. The performance of "Dirge" is charged with darker-than-usual sinister energy; the running string figures that follow the canon seem here more like a demonic dance than a dirge, to wonderful, scary effect. There is no lack of topnotch recordings of the Serenade, but this is a version that anyone who loves the piece will want to hear. In Nocturne, Padmore again excels in bringing intelligent and sensitive, sometimes soaring musicality to the songs. Finzi's cycle Dies Natalis is something of a novelty, but it fits well with the Britten. His harmonic language is eloquently post-Romantic, solidly in the English pastoral tradition, and his text setting relatively conventional, but the cycle is a lovely, lyrical, entirely successful exemplar of that tradition. Serenade, written about five years after Dies Natalis, demonstrates by contrast the daring individuality of Britten's handling of texts and the rich originality of his melodic gift. The sound of Harmonia Mundi's SACD is immaculate and detailed, with a gripping sense of presence.

Serenade for tenor, horn & strings, Op. 31
Prologue / Benjamin BrittenMark Padmore1:27
Pastoral / Benjamin BrittenMark Padmore3:35
Nocturne / Benjamin BrittenMark Padmore3:47
Elegy / Benjamin BrittenMark Padmore4:25
Dirge / Benjamin BrittenMark Padmore3:33
Hymn / Benjamin BrittenMark Padmore2:08
Sonnet / Benjamin BrittenMark Padmore4:19
Epilogue / Benjamin BrittenMark Padmore1:31
Nocturne for tenor, seven obbligato instruments & strings, Op. 60
On a poet's lips I slept / Benjamin BrittenMark Padmore3:26
Below the thunders of the upper deep / Benjamin BrittenMark Padmore3:52
Encinctured with a twine of leaves / Benjamin BrittenMark Padmore2:18
Midnight's bell goes ting, ting, ting / Benjamin BrittenMark Padmore2:38
But that night when on my bed I lay / Benjamin BrittenMark Padmore3:27
She sleeps on soft, last breaths / Benjamin BrittenMark Padmore4:43
What is more gentle than a wind in summer? / Benjamin BrittenMark Padmore3:38
When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see / Benjamin BrittenMark Padmore4:35
Dies Natalis, Op. 8
Intrada / Gerald FinziMark Padmore5:12
Rhapsody. Recitativo stromentato / Gerald FinziMark Padmore6:55
The Rapture. Danza / Gerald FinziMark Padmore4:07
Wonder. Arioso / Gerald FinziMark Padmore4:10
The Salutation. Aria / Gerald FinziMark Padmore4:32

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