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Who are these Children? - Songs

Catalogue numberBIS-1510 CD
Release date2008-05-20
Orig. sample rate44100Hz
Total time68:11

Klassik Heute: outstanding.

This Britten recital combines two of the composer’s major song cycles, Winter Words, from 1953, and Who are these Children? (1969). In them he explored themes of loneliness, transcience and war – difficult and harrowing material which would test any composer, but Britten is equal to the challenge. His music works its magic by bringing out poignant emotions and subtle insights, sometimes even more vividly than the texts on their own. The music’s emotional depth is grounded in compelling, quasi-naturalistic sound images, such as the whistling, rattling train in the setting of Thomas Hardy’s Midnight on the Great Western. For the cycle Who are these Children? Britten turned to the relatively little-known poet William Soutar, choosing to intersperse Soutar’s intense English language war poems with the poet’s riddles and verses in Scots dialect. Providing a lighter note between these gripping works are four settings of poems by Robert Burns, containing some of Britten’s most deft and delicate music. Composed on the request of Queen Elizabeth II in 1975, they originally formed part of a set of six songs for high voice and harp, and were later arranged for piano by Britten’s assistant Colin Matthews.

Britten often made more settings of his favourite poets than he eventually included in particular cycles. The present programme includes two further Hardy songs and three additional Soutar settings, forming a ‘mini-cycle’ of their own. In an encore, Robert Burns also reappears in Britten’s arrangement of the traditional setting of the poet’s atmospheric Ca’ the yowes.

Daniel Norman, tenor, has appeared on two previous BIS recordings, as soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony conducted by Osmo Vänskä, and with the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet in Winter Songs by the composer Brett Dean. He and Christopher Gould studied together at the Royal Academy of Music and the Britten-Pears School, and have been performing together since 1996. From early on in their collaboration, Britten’s music has played an important role, and they first performed Who are these Children? at the Aldeburgh Festival in 1999.
    File formats included in STUDIO QUALITY
    • FLAC 24-bit Stereo
    • FLAC 16-bit Stereo
    • MP3 Stereo
    File formats included in CD QUALITY | MP3
    • FLAC 16-bit Stereo
    • MP3 Stereo
$ 13.57
Extra material for download
  Composer: Britten, Benjamin
  Winter Words, Op.52 21:47
01 At day-close in November 01:34 $ 0.33 USD
02 Midnight on the Great Western (or ‘The Journeying Boy’) 05:06 $ 1.07 USD
03 Wagtail and Baby (A Satire) 02:05 $ 0.44 USD
04 The Little Old Table 01:23 $ 0.29 USD
05 The Choirmaster’s Burial (or ‘The Tenor Man’s
04:06 $ 0.86 USD
06 Proud Songsters (Thrushes, Finches and Nightingales) 01:11 $ 0.25 USD
07 At the Railway Station, Upway (or ‘The Convict and Boy
with the Violin’)
02:58 $ 0.62 USD
08 Before Life and After 03:24 $ 0.71 USD
  Four Burns Songs 08:20
09 Afton Water, Op.92 No.5 02:28 $ 0.52 USD
10 Wee Willie Gray, Op.92 No.3 00:50 $ 0.18 USD
11 The Winter, Op.92 No.6 03:15 $ 0.68 USD
12 My Hoggie, Op.92 No.4 01:47 $ 0.37 USD
  Who are these Children? Op.84 21:58
13 A Riddle (The Earth) 01:21 $ 0.28 USD
14 A Laddie’s Sang 01:13 $ 0.26 USD
15 Nightmare 02:41 $ 0.56 USD
16 Black Day 00:40 $ 0.14 USD
17 Bed-time 01:22 $ 0.29 USD
18 Slaughter 01:46 $ 0.37 USD
19 A Riddle (The child you were) 00:56 $ 0.20 USD
20 The Larky Lad 00:36 $ 0.13 USD
21 Who are these Children? 02:28 $ 0.52 USD
22 Supper 01:29 $ 0.31 USD
23 The Children 05:25 $ 1.14 USD
24 The Auld Aik 02:01 $ 0.42 USD
25 If it’s ever Spring again 02:40 $ 0.56 USD
26 Dawtie’s Devotion 01:17 $ 0.27 USD
27 The Gully 00:53 $ 0.19 USD
28 The Children and Sir Nameless 02:42 $ 0.57 USD
29 Tradition 00:52 $ 0.18 USD
30 Ca’ the yowes 04:08 $ 0.87 USD
  Album total 68:11
ComposerBritten, Benjamin
PianoGould, Christopher
TenorNorman, Daniel

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