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NM 0190
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NM 0190
BRITTEN, B.: Ascent of F6 (The) / An American in England / On the Frontier (Skidmore, Elder)

BRITTEN, B.: Ascent of F6 (The) / An American in England / On the Frontier (Skidmore, Elder)

The Classical Shop
release date: January 2014

Recorded in 24 Bit / 44.1Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2014


Halle Orchestra


Mark Elder


Jeffrey Skidmore


Harry Ogg


Jean Rigby


Mary Carewe


Samuel West


Andrew Kennedy


Huw Watkins


Jonathan Holland


Ex Cathedra Choir


Halle Choir



Halle St Peters, Manchester, United Kingdom and Bridgewater Hall, Manchester, United Kingdom


Record Label




Total Time - 78:28
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BRITTEN, B.: Ascent of F6 (The) / An American in England / On the Frontier (Skidmore, Elder)

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The Ascent of F6

1 Overture 04:05
2 Act I: Entr'actes for Mr. and Mrs. A. 00:46
3 Act I: Entr'acte and Gunn's Song: The chimney sweepers 01:20
4 Act I: Ransom: O brothers 05:05
5 Act I: Pantomime 02:06
6 Act I: Mother's Song: Michael, you shall be renowned 02:06
7 Act II: Prelude 01:30
8 Act II: Chant 01:01
9 Act II: Climbing Music 00:24
10 Act II: Gunn's Song: Some have tennis-elbow 00:34
11 Act II: Climbing Music 00:34
12 Act II: Cabaret Jazz Song: Forget the dead 01:40
13 Act II: Ransom: O senseless hurricanes 00:52
14 Act II: Funeral March and Chorus: No news 00:49
15 Act II: Blues: Stop all the clocks 03:18
16 Act II: Mother's Song with Chorus: Acts of injustice done 04:23
17 Act II: Chorale: Free now from indignation 02:16
 Jean Rigby Soloist
 Andrew Kennedy Soloist
 Jeffrey Skidmore Conductor

An American in England

18 I. London by Clipper (Programme 1) 01:24
19 II. Dover to London (Programme 2) 01:20
20 III. Ration Island (Programme 3) 01:06
21 IV. Women of Britain (Programme 4): London 02:43
22 V. Women of Britain (Programme 4): You walk down to a part of the city 01:51
23 VI. Women of Britain (Programme 4): Warren. To my dearly beloved boy 03:19
24 VII. Women of Britain (Programme 4): It's a beautiful August morning 00:43
25 VIII. Women of Britain (Programme 4): Within 50 yards 01:22
26 IX. Women of Britain (Programme 4): Your first factory 01:29
27 X. Women of Britain (Programme 4): After the last war 00:30
28 XI. Women of Britain (Programme 4): You set out for a training camp 01:34
 Samuel West Soloist
 Mark Elder Conductor

Hadrian's Wall

 Mary Carewe Soloist
 Huw Watkins Soloist

On the Frontier

30 Overture 00:50
31 Ad libitum 01:24
32 Chorus: The clock on the wall gives an electric tick 04:07
33 Prisoner's Monologue: 'Industrialists, bankers, in comfortable chairs 02:10
34 Fanfare 00:38
35 Moderato 00:26
36 Fanfare 01:08
37 Chorus: Marching Songs: Brightly the sun on our weapons is gleaming 02:16
38 Chorus: Ostnian National Anthem 00:25
39 Chorus: Waltz: The papers say there'll be war before long 04:33
40 Chorus: Journalists' Song: We fly to a cabinet crisis 00:52
41 Interlude 02:32
42 Chorus: To build a city 02:32
 Samuel West Soloist
 Jonathan Holland Soloist
 Jeffrey Skidmore Conductor

Britain to America

 Mary Carewe Soloist
 Harry Ogg Conductor

NMC NM 0190

Britten to America – Samuel West (narrator), Andrew Kennedy, Jean Rigby, Mary Carewe, Ex Cathedra, Jeffrey Skidmore (conductor); Mervyn Cooke, Lucy Walker (piano), Matthew Dickinson (percussion), Huw Watkins (piano), Harry Ogg (assistant conductor), Hallé Orchestra, Sir Mark Elder

What better way to mark the end of Britten’s centenary than by releasing some previously unrecorded works, the majority of which have not been heard since they were performed in the 1940s. This is Britten with a difference – there are blues numbers, jazz, a ‘Tibetan’ chant, a Bach chorale, and even a ukulele player.

Britten made the hazardous journey from the United States back to England in the spring of 1942. Within a few weeks he had to face a Tribunal, which exempted him from military service as a conscientious objector. In his statement to the Tribunal he had said, ‘I believe sincerely that I can help my fellow human beings best by continuing the work I am best qualified to do’, and almost immediately he began giving concerts with Peter Pears in towns, rural villages, and prisons. He also wrote major scores for radio propaganda programmes, including An American in England, six programmes about wartime conditions in England, produced by the BBC for live transmission in the USA by CBS, and Britain to America, three programmes that were part of a weekly transmission by NBC.

Music from these two series is complemented by incidental music to two plays by Auden and Isherwood, The Ascent of F6 and On the Frontier, and by ‘Roman Wall Blues’ from Hadrian’s Wall, a lost radio production with Auden.

 "... Recommended especially, but not exclusively, to Britten fans."

Ronald E Grames - Fanfare - September/October 2014

                           Performance  ****        Recording ****

"...Plenty of food for thought and pleasure to be had here."

David Nice - BBC Music magazine - July 2014


 "...A disc of incidental music should not be as much fun."

Richard Fairman - Gramophone magazine - March 2014

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