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Classic Archive 2007: Voix britanniques

Peter Pears tenor | Benjamin Britten piano | Alfred Deller alto | Melos Ensemble of London

Today’s Classic Archive affords us the opportunity to rediscover two of the loveliest British voices of the last century. First of all, tenor Peter Pears, whose name is indelibly linked to that of Benjamin Britten. The collaboration between the two men, which started from the moment they met in 1937, meant that Pears created the lead roles of all of Britten’s operas. Peter Pears was also a remarkable recitalist, whether singing a cappella or accompanied by Britten, as can be seen in the present programme, recorded in London in May, 1964. The complicity between the two musicians is obvious, to the extent that spectators feel as if they are attending a musical evening in the composer’s home. Alfred Deller’s role in the movement to rediscover ancient music with period instruments, which began immediately after the second World War, can not be over-emphasised. With his son Mark, and accompanied by Desmond Dupré, this self-taught musician’s alto voice allowed him to revisit – thereby rescuing from oblivion – a vast repertory of baroque vocal music. As the first great countertenor, his unique vocal timbre is reminiscent of the miraculous sound the castrati must have produced. His voice caused a scandal, but it also lead to a resurgence in popularity for forgotten repertories, particularly seventeenth-century English music, with composers like Philip Rosseter, John Blow and Henry Purcell.


Traditionals, Folk Songs; Bridge: "Go not, happy day"; "Down by the Salley Gardens"; "The Shooting of His Dear"; "The Plough Boy"; "Have you seen the white lily grow?"; Rosseter: "What then is love but mourning?"; "Have you seen the white lily grow?"; ...


Prog. No.
Music genre
Classic Archive
43 mins
Pierre-Martin Juban
Idéale Audience
Production year