As part of the celebration Britten's Centenary in 2013, this new recording presents Britten's five Canticles, performed by tenor Ben Johnson with James Baillieu accompanying.
Johnson describes his attraction to these works in his self-penned notes for the disc: "Each is deep with meaning or subversion, a trademark of Britten’s music to a modern audience. They are song, opera, cantata and chamber music, and so they correspond with the most delicate of intimacy and to the most effective of grand gesture … In his biography of Britten, Humphrey Carpenter points out the close links between the Canticles and Britten’s operas. This answers in part their difference from the ‘usual’ song repertoire: their religious flavour (a stronger taste in some than others) mixed with the circumstances of their composition make for a unique strand in Britten’s output."
Ben Johnson has quickly established himself as one of the most exciting tenors of his generation. Winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Awards in 2008, he was also a prizewinner at the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition and the Gerald Moore Awards (singer’s prize). Currently studying with Jeffrey Talbot, he is a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist 2010-2012. Ben Johnson is currently an ENO Harewood Artist and a Wigmore Hall Emerging Talent. His recent opera engagements include Nemorino, 'The Elixir of Love', for English National Opera, Don Ottavio, 'Don Giovanni' for Opéra National de Bordeaux, Novice in Michael Grandage’s new production of 'Billy Budd' at Glyndebourne Festival Opera and productions for Scottish Opera and the Classical Opera Company. In recital he works regularly with Graham Johnson. They have recorded songs by Poulenc for Hyperion records and Britten Songs for Onyx [Onyx4071]. He also works with Roger Vignoles, Malcolm Martineau and James Baillieu.
Highlights in 2012/13 season include Don Ottavio and Alfredo, 'La Traviata' at the English National Opera; he will also return to Glyndebourne Festival Opera in future seasons.