This disc brings together for the first time a comprehensive collection of all the surviving music that Benjamin Britten wrote during the 1930s for the General Post Office (GPO), Southern Railways and other organisations. It features premiere recordings of Coal Face, The Way to the SeaMen Behind the MetersNegroesPeace of BritainThe King's Stamp and Telegrams, plus the first recording of the complete music for Night Mail.

The scores for this recording were specially reconstructed from manuscript and other sources held at the Britten-Pears Library, by composers Joseph Phibbs and Lloyd Moore under the supervision of Colin Matthews, Executive Producer of NMC and Director of the Britten Estate, which has funded the recording.

Simon Russell Beale narrator

Mary Carewe mezzo soprano

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group

City of Birmingham Symphony Chorus

Choir of King Edward's School, Birmingham

Martyn Brabbins conductor

'Writing film scores quickly, for strictly limited performance forces, was an inestimable professional training, as was collaboration with Auden. The results, as laid out in this 10-part sequence, are fascinating' The Sunday Times

'A catalogue hole has been filled with this conspectus of Britten’s imaginative film music of the 1930s, including the GPO Film Unit classics Coal Face and Night Mail. Perky winds, brass and percussion dominate, and Brabbins’s accounts with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group vibrate with character' The Times

'Lashings of period-feel, especially in Simon Russell Beale's spruce delivery of the iconic Night Mail' The Independent on Sunday

'The inventive ingenuity in every fragment Britten produced is extraordinary, while the practicality and economy involved in writing for these ensembles left a more permanent mark on his music too, particularly on the scoring of his three chamber operas' Guardian

Night Mail with Simon Russell Beale’s suitably hushed narration catches the mystical tension and excitement with a virtuoso performance’ MusicWeb International

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NMC Recordings is an award-winning record label with charitable status. They believe that new music is a dynamic and engaging art-form and seek to inspire and challenge audiences.