On the face of it, Britten's Three Church Parables, composed in the 60s with their fusion of east and west, might be a sorry attempt to jump on a trendy bandwagon. But they are a triptych of beguiling one-act operas whose individual sound worlds are uniquely Britten's.
Curlew River, the first Parable, takes elements of traditional Japanese theatre and court music which so impressed Britten on his 1956 world tour and transplants them to East Anglia to tell the story of a woman driven mad by the loss of her child. The Madwoman, as with each principal tenor role in the Parables, was written for Peter Pears and here is sung by James Gilchrist.
Rarely presented as a group of three, these critically acclaimed performances were recorded at the 2013 Aldeburgh Festival in Orford Church, the place for which they were originally written.
Presented by Louise Fryer.
Britten: Curlew River
The Madwoman.... James Gilchrist (tenor)
The Abbot.... Lukas Jakobski (bass baritone)
The Ferryman.... Rodney Earl Clarke (baritone)
Roger Vignoles (music director)
Frederic Wake-Walker (director)
The Burning Fiery Furnace is tomorrow at 2.00 pm.