Saturday, July 20, 2013

Benjamin Britten: Chamber and Instrumental Works

This enjoyable set (available here from Archivmusik at a very reasonable price) is dominated by the three string quartets and three cello suites, as one might expect – with fine performances from the Endellion Quartet and Truls Mørk respectively. But there are also less familiar pieces that are well worth listening to - particularly the phantasy for string trio and oboe, the op. 65 cello sonata written for Rostropovich, and the six metamorphoses after Ovid for solo oboe. Britten's piano works on disc 5 are not a high point, despite the best efforts of Stephen Hough, but in general Britten's harmonic language and musical persona is ideal for the more intimate chamber music setting.