Beyond the huge catalogue of Britten’s own recordings for Decca - 75% of this complete edition - many other labels have kindly provided recordings of the remaining works: a total of 20 labels including EMI Classics, Virgin Classics, Naxos, Warner Classics and NMC, making this a rare example of cross-industry collaboration.

“In this very special Britten year," says Managing Director Paul Moseley, "it seemed to us at Decca that something unique had to be attempted to honour such a huge figure in British music.  The first ever ‘complete works’ on disc best fitted the bill, and we are most grateful to all participating labels and to the Britten-Pears Foundation for their support in making this happen.”

Watch Decca's video about the Britten Complete Works box set

The set is organised into 4 principal sections, each with its own individual book which offers a detailed article on Britten’s contribution to each genre, as well track listings and recording information:

  • The Operas (20 CDs)
  • Stage & Screen (12 CDs)
  • Voices (16 CDs)
  • Instruments (13 CDs)
In addition 4 bonus CDs include a series of newly conducted interviews with surviving musicians who worked closely with Britten, historic recordings and rarities, and Britten’s rehearsals at the recording sessions for the War Requiem which itself has been newly remastered this year from the analogue master tapes.
 
The set also features a DVD of Tony Palmer’s film on the making of the 1967 recording of The Burning Fiery Furnace, chosen specifically for its unrivalled insight into the Britten-Decca recording relationship and the working methods of producer John Culshaw and his pioneering Decca team.

These 66 discs are housed in a handsome and individually numbered box featuring a newly-commissioned illustration depicting the young Britten surrounded by visual icons inspired by his music. To crown the set a 208-page full-colour hardback book offers a host of fascinating articles and insights, a complete alphabetical index of works included in the edition, a gallery of original Decca LP sleeves from 1953 onwards and copious recording session pictures and beautiful Aldeburgh landscapes newly photographed for this edition.

Decca’s Complete Works includes all works with opus numbers and all works commercially recorded to date. Includes folksongs, excludes Purcell realisations and Hindmarsh’s arrangements of incidental music to King Arthur and World of the Spirit. Hundreds of (mainly teenage) fragments and juvenilia remain unpublished or recorded.