BRITTEN: Top 10 Sinfonia Recordings as chosen by Gramophone magazine

A diverse range of excellent recordings spanning a breadth of repertoire, reminding us just why the Britten Sinfonia is such a fine, not to mention versatile, ensemble, and sought after for the studio.

Donizetti Il Paria

Opera Rara / Britten Sinfonia / Sir Mark Elder cond (Opera Rara)

'The music is splendid, well worth discovering...Shagimuratova is superb...Barbera is breathtakingly wonderful...Elder conducts with his customary zeal. Subtlety, too...The Britten Sinfonia respond to Elder’s conducting with playing of great sensitivity and beauty.'

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Macmillan Stabat Mater

Opera Rara / Britten Sinfonia / Sir Mark Elder (Opera Rara)

Gramophone Recording of the Month - May 2017

Gramophone Awards 2017 - Shortlisted, Contemporary

'…without doubt the work's impact is immeasurably heightened by the exceptional performance it receives here…Christopher's adoration of MacMillan's Stabat Mater radiates out of every moment of this compelling performance…the Britten Sinfonia have tremendously incisve rhythmic bite..'

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Howells Cello Concerto; An English Mass

Guy Johnston / Britten Sinfonia / Stephen Cleobury / Kings College Choir

Gramophone Editor's Choice - August 2019

'Clinch’s compelling elaboration…acts as a satisfactory foil to its more consolatory companion movements to reveal a work of string personality, keen ambition and considerable expressive scope…It’s superbly championed by Guy Johnston, who in turn receives sterling support from the Britten Sinfonia under Christopher Seaman…Impeccably judged sound and balance throughout…All told, a hugely rewarding issue, and absolutely not to be missed.'

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Alison Balsom Quiet City

Alison Balsom tpt / Britten Sinfonia / Scott Stroman 

'To say that Balsom is in touch with the soul of her instrument would be to downplay her artistry...there are technical things she does here so effortlessly that we her listeners can just relax into the phrasemaking as if it’s something she’s made up on the spot.'

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Beethoven Symphonies Nos 4-6 Barry Viola Concerto

Thomas Adès / Britten Sinfonia / Lawrence Power vla

'A year separates these live recordings from their predecessors, and while there’s no loss of vigour or sinew, the significant increase in warmth and flexibility makes a world of difference...As for the two works here by Gerald Barry, they could not be more different, at least on their surface…Under Adès the Britten Sinfonia play both scores for all their worth. Heartily recommended.'

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Grayston Ives Requiem

The Choir of Jesus College Cambridge / Britten Sinfonia / Richard Pinel cond

'This is an important work...Ives, steeped in the Anglican choral tradition, writes magnificently, as might be expected, for his mixed vocal forces. His idiom is tonal, his harmonic vocabulary packed with delicious things'

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Poulenc Gloria and Motets

The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge / Polyphony / Britten Sinfonia / Stephen Layton / Susan Gritton

Gramophone Awards 2008 - Finalist, Choral

Gramophone Editor's Choice - April 2008

'From the very outset of the Gloria its clear that this is a performance of real distinction. …the scintillating choral entry, the basses starting the ball rolling with the kind of pent-up energy which you just know is going to explode in the most spectacular way. In the final chorus of the Gloria, after the boisterous start, we have a moment of profound sanctity and another, crowned with incredible delicacy by Susan Gritton, of mouth-watering enchantment.'

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Vaughan Williams Dona Nobis Pacem & Bernstein Chichester Psalms

The Choir of King's College Cambridge / Britten Sinfonia / Stephen Cleobury cond

'King’s Chapel plays its part, not only in the acoustic halo that surrounds Ailish Tynan’s opening plea, but the space surrounding and somehow uplifting strings and voices: bass drum and organ entirely fill the air when they need to, but there is a not inappropriate illusion of the performance taking place in mid-air. That’s also due to Stephen Cleobury’s incisive direction.'

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Łukaszewski Via Crucis

Polyphony / Britten Sinfonia / Stephen Layton

'This string of moments, by turns bright and oppressively dark, dramatic and reflective, receives a performance of the very deepest conviction by Polyphony and the Britten Sinfonia under Stephen Layton, and the recorded sound is wonderful.'

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Hindemith Organ Works

Daniel Hyde org / Britten Sinfonia / Benjamin Bayl

'This disc positively sparkles! With such intelligent and innovative programming, it is the ideal introduction to Hindermith's organ music. There is plenty of registrational variety… in Daniel Hyde's nicely judged performances of the three solo sonatas. Hindermith's impish characteristics are more to the fore in the wind quintet Kleine Kammermusik. Nicholas Daniel's oboe-playing is an especial delight, and the third-movement waltz and folky finale are brought off to perfection.'

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