Music Web International
Britten Sinfonia: they match their soloist’s sensitivity and finesse throughout and introduce his performance with a poetic and accomplished rendition of ‘Intrada’. Their contribution to all three works on this disc is superb..." "The three acutely sensitive performances on this disc have been captured in sound that is expertly balanced and very clear. The booklet is beautifully produced. In short, this is a release that exudes quality".
British tenor Mark Padmore also did the honours for Benjamin Britten with a powerful, sensitive performance of the composer’s unforgettable, eerie Serenade and Nocturne, put out by Harmonia Mundi.
The Absolute Sound
Sensitively inflected without ever seeming over-refined or fussy, The accompaniment by Jacqueline Shave is equally nuanced, with superb contributions of soloists on horn, bassoon, harp, timpani, English horn, and clarinet assuring the full effect of Britten's richly expressive scores.. a recording that's intimate and immediate, tracing the subdest dynamic gradations of singer and instrumentalists..."
Top 10 Favorite CD's for 2012
San Jose Mercury News
BEST OF 2012 7. Mark Padmore, Britten Sinfonia: "Benjamin Britten: Serenade for tenor, horn & strings" (Harmonia Mundi). As Britten's 2013 centennial approaches, we'll hear more and more of the British composer's works. Start celebrating with this bracing and lovely piece, featuring tenor Padmore, whose technical range -- and range of expression -- is astonishing. Peter Pears (for whom Britten composed the Serenade) would be proud. Jacqueline Shave leads the intimate ensemble performance.
Padmore sings the Nocturne so expertly that he takes the focus off himself and keeps it on the music. He brings an enraptured, intoxicated quality to the solo line
San Jose Mercury News
As Britten's 2013 centennial approaches, we'll hear more and more of the British composer's works. Start celebrating with this uniquely bracing and lovely piece, featuring tenor Padmore, whose technical range -- and range of expression -- is astonishing.
American Record Guide
One can only praise [Padmore's] silver timbre, his nimble agility in fast passages, his un- quavering sustaining of notes, his uncanny interpretive ability. Stephen Bell’s horn obbligatos are also worthy of the highest praise. His breath control is quite amazing. The Britten Sinfonia lives up to its name
BBC Radio 3
‘It’s so sensitively, eloquently sung and played from beginning to end, and having the Finzi following the Britten was an excellent idea.’
What really struck me was, for example in the Britten Serenade, that you hear not just individual words of the song or individual phrases, you hear entire sentences and I believe you understand the poems behind these cycles far better with Padmore perhaps than almost any other singer.
Some of Padmore's best singing and interpretation... an energetic and straightforward performance... an inventive program well done, and will repay further listening.
Britten used some of the greatest poetry in the English language to create these settings, so the fun comes from all sides if you’ve got good performers. And these are great performers… Padmore’s unique voice fits these settings like a glove, and his interpretations seem utterly right...
BBC Music Magazine -
Mark Padmore is an outstanding performer. Anyone who's seen, as well as heard, him... will know how his facial gestures and physical movements add to his already abundant musicality and radiant vocal tone... The Britten Sinfonia and instrumental soloists are admirably attuned to Padmore's approach... A recording with insights...
"It was high time Mark Padmore, one of our most thoughtful tenors, set down his interpretation of the 'Serenade'...a mysterious spell is cast, not least in the Keats-inspired finale. Padmore is equally refined in the “'Nocturne.'”
The New York Times
Pears’s 1944 recording with the great Dennis Brain playing horn and Britten conducting the Boyd Neel String Orchestra is a classic. Now Mr. Padmore’s, with the horn player Stephen Bell and Jacqueline Shave conducting the Britten Sinfonia, takes an honored place beside it.
The Buffalo News
his voice is delicate and arresting...
The Arts Desk
Mark Padmore’s new recording is terrific - his voice is expressive, beautiful and terrifying by turns. Finzi’s unforced melodic gifts are balm after 50 minutes of death-haunted Britten, and Padmore sings with such sweetness that you’ll convince yourself that Finzi was an underrated genius.
Padmore ‘s warm vibrato sounds handsome in Finzi’s sweeping, majestic Dies Natalis...
Apart from the sheer beauty of his timbre, Padmore and his sympathetic accompanists have the full measure of Britten’s genius, and the readings are unlikely to be bettered for years to come.
superb recording"Padmore is such an intelligent and tasteful singer that it’s impossible not to be swept away by his performances. Comparisons with Pears are inevitable. Padmore’s voice is, to my ears, more vocally secure and attractive than the older tenor’s.""Stephen Bell nails the fiendish solo horn part in the Serenade..."."The sound quality is brilliantly state-of-the-art with Padmore and the ensemble perfectly and naturally balanced. This is world-class singing of music that will yield tremendous rewards with patient, quiet listening. Superb."
Padmore confronts the music, stands up to it, giving us more passion, less suggestiveness... and more variety... His performance of the Keats, is probably the best single Britten performance I've ever heard.
Audiophile Audition -
This is quite simply a stunning album in spectacular surround sound that should be required listening for Britten and Finzi fans, as well as converting a whole host more. Usual fantastic HM production values along with full texts provided.
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review
Padmore is impeccable, the Britten Sinfonia detailed and expressive and the recording bright and well-staged in full sound dimension.
The new reference recording for these masterpieces from Benjamin Britten
tenor Mark Padmore’s newest release on Harmonia Mundi. Padmore’s previous recordings of Schubert cycles (chief among them a haunting, essential, Winterreise recorded with Paul Lewis in 2009) and Britten works have made him one of the hottest art song commodities around, blessed as he is with a balance of right-brained intellect and left-brained sensitivity when it comes to his keenly-picked material.
the wait has been worth it. These performances of the Serenade for tenor, horn and strings and the Nocturne are of the utmost sensitivity, skilfully accompanied by the Britten Sinfonia and recorded with tremendous presence...
International Record Review
These are beautiful and perceptive performances, rewardingly matching poetic insight to musical understanding.