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The album “Britten”, released by Animal Music, comprises three essential choral works by one of the most distinguished 20th-century composers, Benjamin Britten, in new recordings by the Czech vocal ensemble Martinu Voices conducted by its founding artistic director Lukáš Vasilek and featuring soloists Katerina Englichová (harp) and Daniela Valtová Kosinová (organ). Te Deum in C, A Ceremony of Carols and Hymn to St. Cecilia occupy a special place in Britten’s oeuvre. Writing music for choirs of all shapes and sizes enabled Britten to carry out his long-term goal, i.e. to create music that would be “useful” or, in other words, that could serve his community and fulfil the democratic potential of choral singing. Each of the three works was intended for different forces: one for choir and organ, one for choir and harp, and one for unaccompanied choir. The compositions very well illustrate Britten’s ability to create an entirely different world with each new composition. All three works come from an in-between stage in his life and career. Te Deum in C originated in 1934 when Britten’s personal and professional life had temporarily come to a standstill, the other two compositions were written, in part, during an Atlantic crossing when Britten and his partner Peter Pearse were returning from the US to Britain in 1942, having spent three years in America. The most popular of the three pieces is A Ceremony of Carols which has become a stock piece on the repertoire of school choirs, choir associations as well as professional ensembles and is regularly performed to this day. With “Britten”, Martinu Voices add another recording to their string of profile albums dedicated to diverse masters of choral composition – having previously released albums with music by Bohuslav Martinu (2018) and Jan Novák (2014). Lukáš Vasilek is one of the foremost Czech choir conductors. Apart from being the artistic director of Martinu Voices he is the chief conductor of Prague Philharmonic Choir and has collaborated, among others, with Jirí Belohlávek, Simon Rattle, Semjon Byckov, Manfred Honeck, Gianandrea Noseda, and world-renowned orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic and Vienna Symphonic Orchestra. In 2023, he conducted a remarkable concert performance of Britten’s War Requiem in which he combined the forces of the Prague Philharmonic Choir with those of three orchestras and three international soloists. On the cover, a portrait of Benjamin Britten by the famous photographer Cecil Beaton has been used. It was taken in 1942, around the time the composer was working on some of these pieces. The liner notes include a text on Benjamin Britten and his choral works by the British musicologist Dr. Lucy Walker.

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  • Release Specifications

    • Number of Discs: 1
    • Release Date:
    • Label: Animal Music
    • UPC/Barcode: 8594211850346
    • Item Number: ANI124-2