Benjamin Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Benjamin Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream
Alfred Deller as Oberon (for details see "Performers" below)
Decca MET 338 / 340 [LPx3, mono]
Decca SET 338 / 340 [LPx3, stereo]
London OSA-1385 [LPx3]
Decca 425 663-2LH2 [CDx2, Europe]
London 425 663-2LH2 [CDx2, NA]


    LP-1: Act I

  1. Orchestral Introduction
  2. Chorus: Over hill, over dale
  3. Duet: I'll met by moonlight
  4. Scene: Well, go thy way
  5. Duet: How now, my love ... I swear to thee
  6. Duet: I love thee not
  7. Air: Welcome, wanderer ... I know a bank

  8. ----
  9. Scene: Is all our company here ?
  10. Duet: Fair love, you faint with wand'ring in the wood
  11. Soliloquy: Through the forest have I gone
  12. Scene: Stay, tho' thou kill me
    Lysander, if you live ... And run through fire I will
    Lysander, what a dream was here
  13. Air: Come now a roundel
  14. Lullaby: You spotted snakes with double tongues
  15. Air: What thou seest when thou dost wake
  16. LP-2: Act II

  17. Orchestral Introduction
  18. Scene: Are we all met ?
  19. Scene: I see their knavery
    The woosell cock
    I pray thee, gentle mortal
    Peaseblossom! Ready! - Hail, mortal, hail!
    What, whilt thou hear some music
  20. Sleep thou, and I will wind thee in my arms
  21. Scene (a): How now, mad spirit
    Oh, why rebuke you him that loves you so ?

  22. ----
  23. Scene (b): Flower of this purple dye
    Why should you think that I should woo in scorn ?
  24. Scene (c): Oh, Helen, goddess, nymph ... Sweet, do not scorn her so
    Puppet ?, why so ?
  25. Scene (d): This is my negligence
  26. Air: Thou seest these lovers seek a place to fight
  27. Scene: Up and down, up and down
  28. Chorus: On the ground, sleep sound
  29. LP-3: Act III Scene I

  30. Orchestral Introduction
  31. Scene and duet: My gentle Robin ... My Oberon
    Come, my queen
  32. Scene: Helena!, Hermia!, Demetrius!, Lysander!
    And I have found Demetrius, like a jewel ... Why then we are awake
  33. Soliloquy: When my cue comes, call me
  34. Scene: Have you sent to Bottom's house
  35. Act III scene II

  36. Transformation scene: orchestral march
  37. Scene: Now, fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour

  38. ----
  39. The Play: Pyramus and Thisbe
  40. Prologue: If we offend ... All for your delight
    Gentle, perchance you wonder at this show
    In this same interlude it doth befall
    Oh, grim look'd night
    My love thou art
    You ladies, you
    This lanthorn dot the horned moon present
    Sweet moon, I thank thee
    Asleep, my love ... These lily lips
  41. Bergamask Dance
  42. Chorus: Now the hungry lion roars
  43. Duet: Through the house give glimm'ring light
  44. Chorus: Now until the break of the day
  45. Epilogue: If we shadows have offended

Alfred Deller (alto « Oberon »), Elizabeth Harwood (soprano « Tytania »), Sir Peter Pears (tenor « Lysander »), Thomas Hemsley (baritone « Demetrius »), Josephine Veasey (mezzo-soprano « Hermia »), Heather Harper (soprano « Helena »), Stephen Terry (speaker « Puck »), John Shirley-Quirk (baritone « Theseus »), Helen Watts (contalto « Hyppolita »), Owen Brannigan « Bottom »), Norman Lumsden (bass « Quince »), Kenneth MacDonald (tenor « Flute »), David Kelly (bass « Snug »), Robert Tear (tenor « Snout »), Keith Raggett (tenor « Starveling »), Richard Dakin (treble « Cobweb »), John Prior (treble « Peaseblossom »), Ian Wodehouse (treble « Mustardseed »), Gordon Clark (treble « Moth »)
Downside School Boys' Choirs
Emanuel School Boys' Choirs
London Symphony Orchestra
Benjamin Britten, dir.

Playing time: 74' 02" + 70' 14" = 2h 24' 16" (CD)

Recording site and date:
Walthamstow Assembly Hall [1966];
Rel.: 1966 or laterr (SET), 1990 (CD)

Excerpts (from original):
Decca SET 397 [LP] Benjamin Britten: A Midsummer Night's Dream (excerpts)
Decca SPA 74 [LP] The World of Benjamin Britten

Reviewed in:
Gramophone (Vol./#-p.): 44/526-600 (May 1967), 67/804-2042 (May 1990).

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Pierre-F. Roberge