Britten's Orchestra Review

Here is another rave review of Britten's Orchestra by Puggingham Palace blogger Don Clark.

Kansas City Symphony: Britten's Orchestra

OK I admit I was worried over nothing.

The Kansas City Symphony and Music Director Michael Stern have been involved in 3 recordings since Stern's arrival here in 2005. The first ones were for Naxos and compositions by the heretofore unknown (at least in the USA) Taiwanese composer Gordon Chin. The second was a recording of some lesser known Arthur Sullivan and Jan Sibelius music based on Shakespeare's "The Tempest" done for Reference Recordings. Both garnered excellent reviews, but of course had little major competition.

But with the latest recording, Stern, the Orchestra and Reference Recordings plunged head first into the mainstream repertoire with some of the most popular and frequently recorded works by Benjamin Britten. The competition was formidable, including the composer's indispensable recordings, excellent readings by Britten specialist Steuart Bedford and on to Bernstein, Bolt and Handley to name a few. Frankly, I was concerned that maybe, just maybe, the orchestra was not ready for the cutthroat competition of prime time.

Shame on me.

With fabulous sonics (we used to call recordings like this "lease breakers") and impressive and quite competitive performances, this recording is a winner...
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