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Directed by Harry Christophers
Most critics consider Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) the most eminent English composer of the twentieth century. His works include masterpieces of choral, operatic, orchestral and chamber music. The works on this album show some of the breadth and range of Britten's choral writing, embracing the masque from his opera Gloriana, his own take on the English part song tradition in Five Flower Songs, and his last work for unaccompanied voices, Sacred and Profane. The latter sets medieval texts described herein as 'a mixture of the devotional and the rumbustiously secular'. The Sixteen is one of the jewels in the musical crown of Britain, and enjoys a worldwide reputation for clarity and beauty with precision and dramatic intensity. Founded in 1977 by its director, Harry Christophers, its albums have received nearly every major prize of the recording industry including the prestigious Gramophone Award for Early Music. The Sixteen's special reputation for early English polyphony! , masterpieces of the Renaissance, and a diversity of twentieth century music is founded on a naturalness of performance, a revealing clarity and beauty of sound, precision, and a dramatic intensity of delivery. To date, The Sixteen and The Symphony of Harmony and Invention have made over 90 recordings, many award-winning, in a range of work spanning the music of 600 years, rediscovering and performing lost and little-known repertoire.