This CD is one of two Warner Classics recordings taped live during a series of concerts presented by the world renowned Chamber Orchestra of Europe during Easter Week 2003. The title for the concert series, presented in London, was Passions and Diversions as the works relate to different aspects of reflection and inspiration.
In this program, Britten and Stokowski interpret works by Purcell in their own idioms; Britten draws on his English musical roots to inspire an original work, Lachrymae and Britten himself is the source of inspiration in Pärt’s Cantus. In the case of the Vaughan Williams, Tippett and Walton works, the inspirations are other composers and literature.
The Chamber Orchestra of Europe has been described in The Financial Times as “the best orchestra in Europe.” The COE was founded in 1981 and has a membership of 50 musicians from 15 countries who perform together mainly in continental Europe and occasionally in the US and Japan. Since its inception, it has appeared with the world’s leading conductors and soloists, and its recordings have consistently won the highest praise and international prizes, including three Gramophone “Record of the Year” awards, one of them being the Warner Classics recording of the complete Beethoven Symphonies with Nikolaus Harnoncourt.
Reviewing the concerts during which these CDs were recorded, The Independent reviewer wrote, “The central attraction of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe remains its string section, playing with a sweetness of intonation and exactness of ensemble that we hear all too rarely in Britain these days. But the whole orchestra – plangent oboes, rounded horns – projected a fullness and intensity, as if playing for its life.”