With the arrival of Benjamin Britten on the international music scene, many felt that English music gained its greatest genius since Purcell. A composer of wide-ranging talents, Britten found in the human voice an especial source of inspiration, an affinity that resulted in a remarkable body of work, ranging from operas like Peter Grimes (1944-1945) and Death in Venice (1973) to song cycles like the Serenade for tenor, horn, and strings (1943) to the massive choral work War Requiem (1961). He also produced much music for orchestra and chamber ensembles, including symphonies, concerti, and chamber and solo works. Britten's father was a prosperous oral surgeon in the town of Lowestoft, Suffolk; his mother was a leader in the local ……
There is nothing wrong with providing retro music as long as the artist does it convincingly, and singer/songwriter Eilen Jewell is quite convincing on Sea of Tears. The era that she sets out to re-create on this 2009 release is the 1960s; this is '60s-flavored roots rock with elements of '60s blues (Chess Records' electric Chicago blues is an obvious influence), '60s soul and '60s country. And not only does Sea of Tears emulate the '60s stylistically – even Jewell's production recalls that decade. But Jewell's ability to make a 2009 release sound like it could have been recorded in 1967 or 1968 wouldn't mean much if she didn't know how to get her points across emotionally; Jewell is quite expressive, which isn't to say that she is an aggressive or forceful type of vocalist.
Martyn Brabbins is at the forefront of contemporary music: well renowned and high profile, he conducted at the opening Night of the Proms 2012. The three orchestral pieces presented here are a masterclass in orchestral colour and sound. Each piece was composed a decade apart and they give a good overall sense of Pickard’s development. Booklet notes are detailed and informative (by the composer).