Here is the 1985 Nimbus release 'Benjamin Britten: Works for String Orchestra' performed by English String Orchestra conducted by William Boughton with Roger Best on viola. This particular Nimbus release has been out of print for some time now, but all of these works by Britten has been included on various later and more recent Nimbus releases.
This Collector's Edition presents a challenge to reviewers. There's so much of it. I could never do it any sort of justice if I approached this as if reviewing a smaller set. This, after all, comprises 37 CDs. As it is all I have been able to do is to sample, reminisce about known recordings and write around the subject. With this caveat stated, let's make a start.
There are three principal strands of Britten recordings. These are broadly tied into and defined by record companies, artists and eras. First we have Britten recording Britten for Decca.
With her winning combination of consummate technical brilliance, fine musicianship, and personal verve, the pianist Xiayin Wang captures the hearts of audiences wherever she appears. She is achiving high levels of recognision for her commanding performances as a recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral soloist in such venues as New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center. This is Wang’s second disc for Chandos Records. Her previous disc, of piano works by Earl Wild, was an ‘International Piano Choice’ in International Piano.
S.V.Rachmaninov wrote two cycles of piano variations: on a theme by Chopin (in Russia at the beginning of this century) and on a theme by Corelli (in New York in 1931). These remarkable works separated by almost 30 years have had different destinies. The Corelli Variations which have become part of concert repertoire are often performed and recorded on discs. In contrast, Variations on a Theme of Chopin, after their performance by the author in Moscow in February 1903, have not appeared in pianists' programmes for almost 70 years...V.Eresko, from the LP cover
Hyperion has reissued on its midpriced Helios label this fine program of English works for string quartet, recorded in 1994. The composers, born approximately 20 years apart in the order given in the headnote, offer an insight into the evolutionary trends in British music before, throughout, and after the 20th century’s two Great Wars.