Listening to the 4 Sea Interludes & the Passacaglia from “Peter Grimes” from a Collins Classics disc containing the Symphonic Suite from “Gloriana”, all conducted by last night’s conductor, Steuart Bedford.
The first of these, “Dawn”, was the first Britten I heard that actually meant something to me. “The Young Person’s Guide” had left me cold, and I was startled to find that this elusive music, that I had heard many times before I knew what it was, was by the same composer. It remains a favorite to this day, even as I have come to appreciate the three other interludes and the passacaglia.
I heard them as orchestral pieces many times before I heard the opera itself, so much so that I regarded them exclusively in such terms. Thus it was a shock and surprise when I finally heard the complete “Peter Grimes” to find that they sounded better in the context of the opera than on their own. It’s hard to hear them now without wishing for voices!