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CD Release for January 2015

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SBT3 1496 Stereo (3 CDs)
Havergal Brian: The Tigers
Released for the first time
The 1983 BBC studio recording of the only performance of Brian's delightful satirical burlesque opera
An Opera in a Prologue & 3 Acts
Teresa Cahill soprano · Alison Hargan soprano · Marilyn Hill-Smith soprano · Ameral Gunson mezzo-soprano
Ann Marie Owens contralto · Paul Crook tenor · Harry Nicoll tenor · John Winfield tenor
Kenneth Woollam tenor · Ian Caddy baritone · Malcolm Donnelly baritone · Henry Herford baritone
Alan Opie baritone · Alan Watt baritone · Norman Welsby baritone · Richard Angas bass-baritone
Eric Shilling bass–baritone · Dennis Wicks bass
BBC Singers
BBC Symphony Orchestra / Lionel Friend
Recorded at the BBC Maida Vale Studios, 3-8 January 1983. Broadcast on BBC Radio3, 3 May 1983

Read all about Havergal Brian's The Tigers
Testament is proud to present the first CD release of Havergal Brian’s opera The Tigers (composed 1917–19, orchestrated 1928–29), from its BBC Radio 3 studio premiere performance recorded in May 1983. Lionel Friend conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers, together with a huge cast of some of the finest British soloists of the day. The original performance was enabled by the Havergal Brian Society’s rediscovery of the full score, lost since WW2, and this release is issued with the Society’s generous support.
The first of Brian’s five operas, The Tigers is by far his most original in conception and execution. It opens on a rich and colourful panoply of Hampstead Heath Bank Holiday fun, but it is August 1914, and a poster announces that war is declared and every man under seventy-five is wanted. The main action then goes on to chronicle the misadventures in training of Brian’s Dad’s Army-style ‘ancient regiment’ The Tigers – drawn from his own brief experience as a WW1 volunteer in the  Honourable Artillery Company (he was invalided out, due to flat feet[!], before he could see action in the trenches).
The Tigers’ thread of comic plot and guying of English social pretensions and military protocol have some operatic precedent in Gilbert & Sullivan, but its overall air of dreamlike inconsequence is more in line with Lewis Carroll. It would be equally hard to find any real operatic successor to The Tigers; later ‘anti-war’ operas like Wozzeck, Kurka’s Good Soldier Schweik, or Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten are infinitely more savage and hard-edged. Rather the farcical, chaotic (though occasionally nightmarish) mise-en-scène of The Tigers seems again to point outside opera, to The Goons or Monty Python. It’s easy to imagine John Cleese & Co. bungling the warnings about Act III’s Zeppelin attack (which never arrives). But on the other hand, knockabout comedy has no place in the haunting, visionary dream ballets which open that same third Act.
In purely musical terms, there is no parallel in British music of the time for The Tigers’ brilliantly quirky, hyperactive sound-world and innovatory instrumental resources, ahead in one notable instance of any European contemporary. To match its sheer virtuosity one needs look to Richard Strauss or even Franz Schreker, for the kind of sensuous, iridescent sheen of sonorities with which Brian’s huge orchestral forces occasionally drench his hapless chocolate soldiers.
Issued with a full libretto, prefaces from original BBC producer Elaine Padmore and conductor Lionel Friend, and copious documentation by the late Havergal Brian expert Malcolm MacDonald, The Tigers is unmissable for any 20th-century opera or British music enthusiast.


CD Releases for November/December 2014

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SBT 1497
Yvonne Lefébure
Ravel: Valses nobles et sentimentales
Fauré: Nocturne No.6; Barcarolle No.6; Nocturne No.13
Schubert: 15 Waltzes
Debussy: Préludes, Book II
Recorded at the BBC Studios, London: 1961 & 1963
Released for the first time

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SBT2 1498 (2 CDs at reduced price)
Carl Schuricht
Compact disc 1
Mozart: Symphony No.38 in D, K.504
Compact disc 2
Bruckner: Symphony No.7 in E
Berliner Philharmoniker
Recorded: 5 August 1964 at the Salzburg Festival
Released for the first time

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SBT2 1499 Stereo (2 CDs at a reduced price)
Karl Böhm & Emil Gilels
Compact disc 1
Mozart: Symphony No.28 in C, K200/189k
Piano Concerto No.27 in B flat, K.595
Compact disc 2
Brahms: Symphony No.2 in D, Op.73
Berliner Philharmoniker
Recorded live at the Salzburg Festival, 1970
Released for the first time

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SBT2 1500 Stereo (2 CDs at a reduced price)
Paavo Berglund & Olli Mustonen
Compact disc 1
Stravinsky: Concerto for piano and wind instruments (1923/24 – revised 1950)
  Compact disc 2
Shostakovich: Symphony No.8 in C minor, Op.65
    Berliner Philharmoniker
Recorded: 18 May 2001, Philharmonie, Berlin
Released for the first time

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SBT2 1501 (2 CDs)
Francesco Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur
Released for the first time
An Opera in 4 Acts
Magda Olivero soprano · Juan Oncina tenor · Sesto Bruscantini baritone
Adriana Lazzarini mezzo-soprano · Enrico Campi baritone · Piero de Palma tenor
Anna di Stasio mezzo-soprano · Vittorio Pandano tenor · Augusto Frati baritone
Coro e Orchestra del Teatro di San Carlo di Napoli
conducted by Oliviero de Fabritiis
Recorded live on 27 August 1963 at the King’s Theatre, Edinburgh
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