Britten - Peter Grimes / Davis, Winslade, Watson, London Symphony Orchestra

Product ID : 17302276

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About Britten - Peter Grimes

This is the third time Sir Colin Davis has recorded Britten's Peter Grimes (if you count the video version). On some very important levels, this is the best. The orchestral playing and the singing of the chorus are clearer---and captured more clearly by the engineers in this live performance---than anyone could have wished for. The people of the Borough are the real villains of this piece and never have they seemed more vicious; their hatred for and persecution of Grimes is terrifying. Similarly, Davis tears into the angry orchestral interludes with malice. His energy and tension in the telling of this story never flag, with tragic occurance piling atop tragic occurance. With one exception, the cast is superb: Janice Watson is the best, freshest-sounding Ellen on discs; Anthony Michaels-Moore is honesty personified as Balstrode, Auntie and her "nieces" are the most mellifluous to be heard. It is only Glenn Winsdale as Grimes who disappoints. Granted, his competition is fierce (Peter Pears, Jon Vickers, Philip Langridge) but even so, he has a great deal of trouble just with the notes (his scene in the hut before the boy's death is almost catastrophically sung) and lacks the searing insights of the other singers. In all, he's good enough not to hurt the performance, but given how superb the rest of the show is, it's a pity he's not better. But if you want to hear some of the glorious specifics of Britten's genius, this recording will not disappoint. --Robert Levine