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Jeremy Nicholas
Gramophone, March 2020

Orchestral Music - SAINT-SAËNS, C. / RAVEL, M. / PROKOFIEV, S. / BRITTEN, B. (Britten-Pears Orchestra, Alsop) (NTSC) 2.110399
Orchestral Music - SAINT-SAËNS, C. / RAVEL, M. / PROKOFIEV, S. / BRITTEN, B. (Britten-Pears Orchestra, Alsop) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0102V

Ma Mère l’Oye gives the young players of the Britten-Pears Orchestra the opportunity to shine…

Finally comes Britten’s Young Person’s Guide. It’s the best thing here—vivid, highly commendable playing from the youngsters in a performance that captures all the colour and exuberance of this deservedly popular score. Marin Alsop’s slightly rewritten version of Eric Crozier’s dry-as-dust original text is just about appealing enough to engage most young persons. © 2020 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Robert Cummings
MusicWeb International, January 2020

Orchestral Music - SAINT-SAËNS, C. / RAVEL, M. / PROKOFIEV, S. / BRITTEN, B. (Britten-Pears Orchestra, Alsop) (NTSC) 2.110399
Orchestral Music - SAINT-SAËNS, C. / RAVEL, M. / PROKOFIEV, S. / BRITTEN, B. (Britten-Pears Orchestra, Alsop) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0102V

…I still find good recordings of children’s music like this new one on Naxos quite special. In fact, I can say that if you like these works, this may be the ideal recording in many ways.

For one thing, there is no other single disc gathering all these warhorse pieces together, and while each is on video with other couplings, none that I could find offered such a generous amount of music in the same genre. Moreover, the performances and production values on this Blu-ray disc are quite high. Some potential purchasers might have doubts about the skill level of the Britten-Pears Orchestra, an ensemble comprised of students and recent graduates connected with the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme. They can allay their doubts and fears because this ensemble plays with great spirit and fine accuracy in these live performances.

To some viewers and listeners the strongest aspect of these performances will be the narration of conductor Marin Alsop. She is natural and very dramatic, delivering the various texts in a manner that would be especially effective with children. She doesn’t adopt a condescending or supercilious manner as some narrators have, nor does she overdo the dramatics. In short, I haven’t heard a better narrator in any of these works. As one might expect, Alsop’s conducting also divulges her total sympathies with the music as she shapes the scores effectively and, as suggested, draws fine playing from these talented youthful musicians in these live performances. Tempos, dynamics, accenting, rubato and other aspects of phrasing all fit the music’s character well, whether its Prokofiev’s deft wit, Saint-Saëns’ chameleonic colors and moods, Ravel’s child-like innocence and playfulness or Britten’s exuberance.

Thus, I thoroughly recommend this totally enjoyable recording. © 2020 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Robert Benson
ClassicalCDReview.com, January 2020

Orchestral Music - SAINT-SAËNS, C. / RAVEL, M. / PROKOFIEV, S. / BRITTEN, B. (Britten-Pears Orchestra, Alsop) (NTSC) 2.110399
Orchestral Music - SAINT-SAËNS, C. / RAVEL, M. / PROKOFIEV, S. / BRITTEN, B. (Britten-Pears Orchestra, Alsop) (Blu-ray, HD) NBD0102V

Music of particular interest to children is featured on this Naxos DVD with Marin Alsop both as conductor and narrator with the excellent Britten-Pears Orchestra. This ensemble was formed more than four decades ago by Benjamin Britten and Peter Pears as a training group for young artists. … The orchestra is superb, excellent video spotlights… © 2020 ClassicalCDReview.com Read complete review





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