Britten: Peter Grimes - Pears, Fisher, Pease, Evans, Lanigan, Carlyle; Kubelik. London, 1958


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This performance of Peter Grimes is an incredible find not only for the fact that it was made only 13 years after its premier, but also because it features the original Peter Grimes, Peter Pears, when his voice was still capable of the demands of the role. Pears' approach to Grimes is leagues away from the gruff fisherman with the heart of gold that Jon Vickers famously created. Pears' Grimes was more poet than bully and conveys the character's fear and insecurity quite movingly particular in his Act II monologue, "In dreams I've built myself some kindlier home." There is a similar vulnerability to Sylvia Fisher's Ellen which makes for a good match and foreshadows the dissolution of their hopes at a life together. James Pease displays an attractive baritone as Balstrode and the rest of the cast features the likes of Geraint Evans and Josephine Veasey. Rafael Kubelik does much with the notable interludes as well as deftly pacing the drama and bridling the orchestra so that Pears was not overwhelmed. The sound is good.

OD 10899-2