Sir Mark Elder discusses his new Hallé recording on NMC.





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Published on Dec 2, 2013

Gramophone's James Jolly interviews Sir Mark Elder about the premiere recordings on NMC of works from the 1930s and 40s for wartime radio broadcast, featuring actor Samuel West and the Halle orchestra.

Britten to America is released on NMC 8 December 2013.

Samuel West narrator
Andrew Kennedy tenor
Jean Rigby mezzo-soprano
Mary Carewe mezzo-soprano
Ex Cathedra / Jeffrey Skidmore conductor
Mervyn Cooke, Lucy walker piano
Matthew Dickinson percussion
Huw Watkins piano
Harry Ogg assistant conductor
Hallé / Sir Mark Elder conductor

What better way to mark the end of Britten's centenary than release some unrecorded works, the majority of which haven't been heard since they were performed in the 1940s. This is Britten with a difference - there are blues numbers, jazz, a 'Tibetan' chant, a Bach chorale and even a ukulele player.

Britten made the hazardous journey from the United States back to England in the spring of 1942. Within a few weeks he had face a Tribunal exempting him from military service as a conscientious objector. In his statement to the Tribunal he had said "I believe sincerely that I can help my fellow human beings best, by continuing the work I am best qualified to do", and almost immediately he began giving concerts with Peter Pears in towns, rural villages and prisons. He also wrote major scores for radio propaganda programmes, including An American in England, six programmes about wartime conditions in England produced by the BBC for live transmission in the USA by CBS; and Britain to America, three programmes as part of a weekly transmission by NBC.

Music from these two series is accompanied by incidental music to two plays by Auden and Isherwood: The Ascent of F6 and On the Frontier; and Roman Wall Blues, from a lost radio production with Auden, Hadrian's Wall.

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    • Standard YouTube License
  • Music

    • "An American In England: I. London By Clipper (Programme 1)" by Samuel West With Hallé Orchestra & Sir Mark Elder, Hallé Orchestra, Sir Mark Elder Listen ad-free with YouTube Red


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