Top 50 Favorite/Best Classical – #42 Britten Peter Grimes
Before a few years ago, I had not listened to Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes. One only has so much time and bandwidth. I’m glad I’ve gotten to listen to it. It’s a great opera in the English language. For me, I’m glad for it, as I’m trying to compose an opera in the English language. I like the dramatic tension that he brings with the music to an odd story. It’s about a fisherman who either kills his apprentice while fishing or is inept and his apprentice keeps dying. The townspeople think he’s a murderer and eventually make him kill himself.
Britten mixes in these gorgeous interludes that set the tone for the opera, which he later set as orchestral pieces for concerts. They can be on this list solely by themselves, but they belong in the opera setting.
As for what to listen to, well, I do highly recommend the whole opera, but if you want to see at least one scene, here’s a great version from Act 3, scene 2 with Jon Vickers as Peter Grimes. The amazing thing about this scene is the lack of the orchestra for such a long time. It draws out the anguish he feels about how his fellow community feel about him.
As for the full version, I highly recommend this BBC studio from version from 1969. Enjoy!
#42 – Britten Peter Grimes
#43 – Loewe My Fair Lady
#44 – Liszt Mephisto Waltzes
#45 – Webber Evita
#46 – Poledouris Conan The Barbarian
#47 – Bernstein Trouble in Tahiti
#48 – Beethoven Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
#49 – Chaminade La Lisonjera, Op. 50
#50 – Beethoven Coriolan Overture, Op. 62