Here's your disc of the week for Jan. 7, 2013. Each week CBC Radio 2's In Concert looks at new classical music releases and selects one recording that you'll want to know about.
Artists: The Oregon Symphony conducted by Carlos Kalmar
Repertoire: Cockaigne (In London Town) by Edward Elgar, Symphony No. 5 by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Four Sea Interludes by Benjamin Britten.
Label: Pentatone Classics
2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Britten, arguably the finest British composer of the 20th, or any other century. And dozens of new discs exploring the master's music will be released in the coming months. An early arrival is a brand new recording on the Pentatone label from the impressive Oregon Symphony under the orchestra's engaging music director, Carlos Kalmar.
The Oregon Symphony, once considered a minor regional player on the American orchestral scene, attracted international attention last year after making a triumphant Carnegie Hall debut, and its 2011 release entitled Music for a Time of War received glowing reviews and stayed for weeks on the Billboard classical charts.
Their latest recording, This is England, devoted to 20th-century works by leading British composers, is no less impressive. Recorded live at the orchestra's home concert hall in Portland, Oregon, the sound is vivid and fresh, and the orchestra plays with remarkable depth of colour and rhythmic drive.
Along with the Elgar's jaunty depiction of London, and Vaughan Williams's moody Symphony No. 5, there's Benjamin Britten's masterpiece of orchestral storytelling, the Four Sea Interludes from his operatic masterpiece Peter Grimes. Here Britten depicts the sea in its infinite variety, capturing the lonely melancholy of that vast expanse with exquisite subtlety.
It's 2013. Bring on the Britten!
Click here to access some samples of this recording.
War Requiem to Moonrise Kingdom: a Benjamin Britten primer
Britten's War Requiem as presented by the Oregon Symphony in February 2013
Benjamin Britten and his Festival: Tony Palmer film