Britten Rarities
Various Artists
Catalogue No.

Voices for Today, Op. 75*
Cambridge University Musical Society Chorus
Benjamin Britten

Choir of King’s College, Cambridge
David Willcocks

Songs from Friday Afternoons, Op. 7*
The Birds*
Corpus Christi Carol*
John Hahessy, boy alto
Benjamin Britten, piano

Canticle II: Abraham and Isaac, Op. 51
Norma Procter, contralto
Peter Pears, tenor
Benjamin Britten, piano

A Charm of Lullabies, Op. 41*
Pamela Bowden, contralto
Peter Gellhorn, piano

‘Bottom’s Dream’ (from A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Geraint Evans, baritone
L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Ernest Ansermet

The Sword in the Stone*
Terence Hanbury White, narrator
Orchestra conducted by Walter Goehr

Music for a while (arr. Tippett)*
From rosy bowers*
Pamela Bowden, contralto
Peter Gellhorn, piano


Recording information

Recording Producers: Andrew Raeburn (Songs from Friday Afternoons, The Birds, Corpus Christi Carol); John Mordler (Bottom’s Dream); James Walker (A Charm of Lullabies, Purcell); unknown (Voices for Today, Canticle II, The Sword in the Stone)
Balance Engineers: Kenneth Wilkinson, Alan Reeve (Songs from Friday Afternoons, The Birds, Corpus Christi Carol); James Lock, David Frost (Bottom’s Dream); unknown (Voices for Today, Canticle II, The Sword in the Stone)
Recording Locations: Decca Studio 3, West Hampstead, London, UK, January 1957 (A Charm of Lullabies, Purcell), February 1957 (Canticle II); Kingsway Hall, London, UK, January, February and April 1961 (Songs from Friday Afternoons, The Birds, Corpus Christi Carol); London, UK, 1952: music, 1963: narration (The Sword in the Stone); King’s College, Cambridge, UK, 1966 (Voices for Today); Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland, April 1966 (Bottom’s Dream)


‘John Hahessy has a splendid strong tone, almost brassy in forte, and a blessedly unaffected style: none of those cautious hoots and beautifully modulated vowels that are the bane of the English choirboy tradition. What is more he evidently has a real natural musicality, to judge by his moulding of phrases throughout this disc.’ (Friday Afternoons, etc.) Gramophone

‘admirably read by the author, with a delightful mixture of sardonic humour and delicate description. The atmosphere is heightened by the music of Benjamin Britten, which brilliantly sharpens the word-pictures. … It is all charming and will give great pleasure to young and old, for its story and the way it is told and for Britten’s delicate score.’ (The Sword in the Stone) Gramophone

‘Britten’s songs were written in 1947 for Nancy Evans, and it might be thought that they need rather more mezzo than contralto tone. But Miss Bowden sings them with no apparent strain, and her characterisation of each one is (very) successful … Her voice is not yet as opulent as Kathleen Ferrier’s, but her dramatic sense is possibly more developed.’ (A Charm of Lullabies; Purcell) Gramophone