Ben Johnson celebrates Britten's centenary year with new album on Signum Classics
Published: 11 February 2013
Category: Vocal & Opera
To honour Britten’s Centenary year in 2013, Ben Johnson has recorded the composer’s five Canticles for release on Signum Classics (produced in association with the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme). He is joined by the acclaimed young accompanist James Baillieu, with guest appearances by counter-tenor Christopher Ainslie, baritone Benedict Nelson, harpist Lucy Wakeford and horn player Martin Owen.
Johnson describes his attraction to these works in his self-penned notes for the disc: "Each is deep with meaning or subversion, a trademark of Britten’s music to a modern audience. In their very performance they glide through such variety of style that it makes them wonderfully difficult to categorise. They are song, opera, cantata and chamber music, and so they correspond with the most delicate of intimacy and to the most effective of grand gesture … In his biography of Britten, Humphrey Carpenter points out the close links between the Canticles and Britten’s operas. This answers in part their difference from the ‘usual’ song repertoire: their religious flavour (a stronger taste in some than others) mixed with the circumstances of their composition make for a unique strand in Britten’s output."
For further information, including an introduction written by Ben Johnson, please visit the Signum website.
Ben Johnson is currently singing the role of Alfredo La Traviata at English National Opera to critical acclaim. Later this year he will sing Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with the Residentie Orkest, and will also give a Britten recital for The Phillips Collection in Washington D.C. with Roger Vignoles.
Click on the link below to hear an extract from the disc from Canticle I, Op.40, 'My beloved is mine' (courtesy of Signum Records):