Britten: The Little Sweep


English Opera Group, London Symphony Orchestra

HTGCD236 – 5013993893790

Two of Britten’s rarities, his children’s opera The Little Sweep and the Cantata Academica, have been unavailable for several years. The definitive recordings made with the English Opera Group and the London Symphony Orchestra are now available on one disc.

The Little Sweep (Let’s make an opera), Op. 45

    1.  "Sweep! Sweep!" (Audience)
    2. "Sweep this chimney!" (Miss Baggott)
    3.  "Now, little white boy!" (Clem/Black Bob)
    4.  "Pull the rope gently" (Children)
    5.  "Is he wounded?" (Children)
    6.  "Sooty tracks upon the sheet" (Children)
    7.  "Run, Poor Sweepboy" (Rowan)
    8.  "The kettles are singing" (Audience)
    9.  "O why do you weep" (Rowan/Sam/Children)
    10.   Pantomine -  "Ah! ..... Blackguards!" (Miss Baggott)
    11.  "Help! Help! She's Collapsed!" (Miss Baggott)
    12.  "The owl, wide-winging" (Audience)
    13.  "Soon the coach will carry you away" (Juliet)
    14.  "Morning, Sammy" (Johnnie)
    15.  "Ready, Alfred?" (Tom)
    16.   Coaching Song: "The Horses Are Champing" (All)

Sam, sweep-boy – David Hemmings
Rowan, the nursery-maid – Jennifer Vyvyan
Miss Baggott, the housekepper – Nancy Thomas
Juliet Brook – April Cantelo
Gay Brook – Michael Ingram
Sophie Brook – Marilyn Baker
John Crome  – Robin Fairhurst
Tina Crome – Gabrielle Soskin
Hugh Crome – Lyn Vaughan
Black Bob, the sweep-master – Trevor Anthony
Clem, the assistant sweep – Peter Pears
Alfred, the gardener – Peter Pears
Choir of Alleyn’s School
English Opera Group Orchestra
Benjamin Britten (conductor)

Cantata Academica op. 62

Part 1

      1. Bonorum summum omnium
      2. quqe bene beateque Vivendi
      1. At huius caelestis
      2. Maiorum imprimis virtus
      3. tum vero Aenease Sylvius
      1. Et gubernacula mundi qui tenet
      2. ut ad longaeva tempora

Part II

    1. Docendi ac discendi aequitati
    1. Rhenana erga omnes urbs
    2. ut itustissime Basilea audiat
    3. O cives Basilienses
    1. Nos autem cuncti hoc festo die
    2. vigeatque academia libera

Jennifer Vyvyan (soprano)
Helen Watts (contralto)
Peter Pears (tenor)
Owen Brannigan (bass)
Harold Lester (piano)
London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
George Malcolm

Tracks 1-16 – recording first published in 1956
Tracks 17-22 – recording first published in 1961


  1. admin

    ‘The Little Sweep is one of Britten’s most delightful and instantly appealing works… the cast is superb… this 1955 Decca version with the English Opera Group orchestra is the one to own… the LP transfer to CD is superb.’
    International Record Review, November 2012

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