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(BH Large Choral). for SATB with SATB solos and organ Imogen Holst orchestrated the work for wind quintet, percussion, organ (ad lib) and strings (1952), and there is also a version for SSAA and organ arranged by Edmund Walters (1966) Text: Christopher Smart Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes Difficulty level: 3 One of Britten's most popular and performed works in this genre, Rejoice in the Lamb was written for the 50th anniversary of St. Matthew's church, Northampton in 1943. The remarkable vicar, Walter Hussey, was a great patron of the arts. His vision for St. Matthew's and later for Chichester Cathedral, where he moved to become Dean, is one of the most fascinating stories in the history of the Anglican Church in the last century.Britten called his work a Festival Cantata and it is structured with choral and solo movements. The text by the supposedly mad Christopher Smart (1722-1771) is part of a poem called Jubilate Agno which he composed in a mental asylum having been committed there by his father-in-law for apparent religious mania. He died in a debtors' prison. It was W.H. Auden who brought the poem to Britten's attention. It is easy to see why Britten was so attracted to Smart's poem. It has great colour, drama, bizarre imagery, and the central issue of the individual against the crowd, or against authority, was one to which Britten was to return repeatedly in his works. Britten had developed a deep interest in Purcell's music at this time and had made keyboard realisations of accompaniments for a number of songs which he performed with Peter Pears. Purcell's influence can easily be heard in the Hallelujah sections. The challenges in this work are many and varied though the difficulty level is not great overall. It is an ideal concert work and is popular with performers and audiences alike. Practical issues include really quiet singing while projecting the voice at the start; dealing with the rhythmic complexities of the first quick section ('Let Nimrod the mighty hunter') and getting the most out of the words and the dynamic contrasts here; the unanimity of the dotted rhythms in the Hallelujah sections; the fielding of four soloists who can put across the character of these zany movements (the cat, the mouse, flowers); the realisation of the depth of passion in the 'For I am under the same accusation as my Saviour' section; the brilliance of the final quick section with all the bizarre musical instrument rhymes; and finally realising the 'stillness and serenity' of the slow music before the final Hallelujah. There is much to consider and much devil in the detail. However, the work is emphatically worth any amount of effort to realise Britten's inspiration. Duration: 17 minutes Paul Spicer, Lichfield, 2011
(Boosey & Hawkes Voice). 60 songs, with extensive historical introductory notes. Includes all art songs originally composed for voice and piano published by Boosey & Hawkes. The content is the same for the High Voice and Medium/Low Voice volumes, with newly published transpositions as necessary. Contents: The Birds * A Charm of Lullabies (5 songs) * Evening, Morning, Night * Fish in the Unruffled Lakes (6 songs) * The Holy Sonnets of John Donne (8 songs) * On This Island (5 songs) * Sechs Holderlin Fragmente (6 songs) * Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo) * Songs from the Chinese (6 songs, transcribed for voice and piano) * Winter Words (8 songs plus 2 songs cut from the cycle) * Two Ballads (duets).
The A Z of String Players surveys the lives, careers and recordings of over 300 string players from the past and present. Many great string players who have made recordings are included, from Accardo to Zukerman. The text covers artists from the earliest recording processes to contemporary, cutting-edge technology. In this clear and straight-forward publication, the artists are listed alphabetically, with a summary of their career, notable recordings, biography and critical appraisal of their recorded legacy. In addition, four compact discs present a selection of recordings from 69 artists. This package will appeal to enthusiast and scholar alike as a readable, informed and fascinating work of reference.
A Midsummer Night's Dream was Benjamin Britten's seventh major opera and had its premiere at Aldeburgh in 1960. Britten and his partner Peter Pears prepared a condensed version of Shakespeare's much-loved comedy for the libretto, using (with the exception of a single line) only the original text. In this newly commissioned guide, Andrew Plant explores the genesis of the opera's composition, including passages of recently published material from Britten's own correspondence. Philip Reed examines the musical language of the opera and has prepared a detailed thematic guide, while David Nice outlines many of the different approaches to the work in productions that have taken place over the last forty years. An essay by Philip Brett discusses how the opera reflects the central issues in Britten's work. Finally, a unique article is included which Britten himself wrote for the Observer immediately preceding the work's premiere. The present edition also contains twentyfive black-and-white and colour photographs, the full libretto, a discography, DVD guide, bibliography and website guide. It will prove an invaluable companion to opera-goers wanting to increase their understanding and enjoyment of this magical work.
Britten's Nocturnal After John Dowland Op. 70 is a fantastically
varied and intricate piece for Solo Guitar, which has been edited
here by Julian Bream. This piece will present an enjoyable
challenge to the advancing classical guitarist.
This landmark publication includes 61 songs, combining the contents of the seven published books of Britten folksong arrangements in High and Low Voice editions. Some of the songs have never before been transposed. The songs of Volume 6, for voice and guitar, have been transcribed for voice and piano for this edition.
This is a double volume dedicated to two masterpieces by Benjamin Britten. While the 1945 premiere of Peter Grimes established Britten as a composer of international standing, Gloriana, which was composed for the coronation of Elizabeth II, has never enjoyed a comparable fame. The variety of mood, characterization and pace, in each, illustrates Britten's exceptional gift for theatre - a view borne out by the recollections of the artists who created the title roles, Peter Pears and Joan Cross. Commentaries on the scores reveal, for instance, how much the popular concert extracts (the 'Sea Interludes' from Peter Grimes and the 'Choral Dances' from Gloriana) gain from their context in the dramas. The libretti are particularly interesting: the essay by E.M. Forster - the inspiration for Peter Grimes - is reprinted here, and Michael Holroyd discusses Lytton Strachey's controversial Elizabeth and Essex - the source for Gloriana. In sum, this is a celebration of two works by the greatest opera composer of the second half of the twentieth century.
This book is exceptional amongst those that have appeared so far in this well-established series, in that it is largely written by those who worked with the composer and assisted him during the period in which the opera was composed and first put on the stage. It will thus remain a source of first-hand information on Britten's final operatic achievement. Donald Mitchell was Britten's publisher at the time of Death in Venice and his Introduction includes many personal observations on the genesis of the work. The latter part of the book contains essays by T. J. Reed and Patrick Carnegy on the libretto's source in Thomas Mann's novella and Philip Reed compares briefly Visconti's cinematic interpretation of the novella. The volume is richly illustrated with music examples, sketches and extracts from the autograph score, and pictures from the first production. It will make an essential reference work and indispensable companion for opera-goers, students and scholars alike.
This long-awaited third volume of composer Benjamin Britten's remarkable letters covers the years 1946-51. Fresh from the astonishing success of his great first opera, Peter Grimes, Britten was vital to the post-war rebuilding of the arts in Great Britain with his visionary work as a composer, conductor, and performer. With his partner, the celebrated tenor Peter Pears, he founded the Aldeburgh Festival, which eventually grew into the international festival that it is today, and the English Opera Group. He also toured widely in Europe and the United States as a pianist and conductor. During this time he wrote many of his best-known works, including the operas Billy Budd, Albert Herring, and The Rape of Lucretia. Britten's correspondents include literary figures such as Christopher Isherwood, Edith Sitwell, E. M. Forster (the librettist for Billy Budd), and Edward Sackville-West, as well as musical colleagues from around the world including Ernest Ansermet, Francis Poulenc, Aaron Copland, and Igor Stravinsky. This volume of selected letters represents one of the richest and most innovative periods of the composer's creative life. His daily concerns and the unique era in which he lived are vividly evoked by the comprehensive and scholarly annotations, which offer a wide range of detailed and fascinating information. Donald Mitchell contributes a superb introduction.
(Boosey & Hawkes Voice). 63 songs, with extensive historical introductory notes. Includes all art songs originally composed for voice and piano published by Boosey & Hawkes. The content is the same for the High Voice and Medium/Low Voice volumes, with newly published transpositions as necessary. Contents: The Birds * A Charm of Lullabies (5 songs) * Evening, Morning, Night * Fish in the Unruffled Lakes (6 songs) * The Holy Sonnets of John Donne (8 songs) * On This Island (5 songs) * Sechs Holderlin Fragmente (6 songs) * Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo) * Songs from the Chinese (6 songs, transcribed for voice and piano) * Three Songs from The Heart of the Matter (with horn) * Winter Words (8 songs plus 2 songs cut from the cycle) * Two Ballads (duets).
Composers have been inspired by the sea for centuries. For some the stimulus is the sea's volatility and power to destroy, whilst for others it's the rhythmic and colouristic opportunities that allow them to paint pictures in sound. These composers take us on journeys both actual and metaphorical, discovering immensity and stillness, and hinting at mystery, and the unknowable chasms between the world of the human and the world of watery nature.
Most of the distinctive Purcell realizations by Benjamin Britten, vocal parts edited by Peter Pears, have been out of print for some years. This new edition collects 49 selections for high voice and 45 selections for medium/low voice. Includes 9 songs from Harmonia Sacra, 24 solo songs and six duets from Orpheus Britannicus, "The Queen's Epicedium," and selections from Dido and Aeneas and The Fairy Queen.
The third volume of the annotated selected letters of composer Benjamin Britten covers the years 1946-51, during which he wrote many of his best-known works, founded and developed the English Opera Group and the Aldeburgh Festival, and toured widely in Europe and the United States as a pianist and conductor. Correspondents include librettists Ronald Duncan (The Rape of Lucretia), Eric Crozier (Albert Herring, Saint Nicolas, The Little Sweep) and E. M. Forster (Billy Budd); conductor Ernest Ansermet and composer Lennox Berkeley; publishers Ralph Hawkes and Erwin Stein of Boosey & Hawkes; and the celebrated tenor Peter Pears, Britten's partner. Among friends in the United States are Christopher Isherwood, Elizabeth Mayer and Aaron Copland, and there is a significant meeting with Igor Stravinsky. This often startling and innovative period is vividly evoked by the comprehensive and scholarly annotations, which offer a wide range of detailed information fascinating for both the Britten specialist and the general reader. Donald Mitchell contributes a challenging introduction exploring the interaction of life and work in Britten's creativity, and an essay examining for the first time, through their correspondence, the complex relationship between the composer and the writer Edward Sackville-West.
Written in 1930 and lasting 7 minutes in total, these pieces are portraits of three of Britten's friends - John, Daphne and Michael, although they weren't publicly performed until 1989, when Sarah Briggs gave the premiere at the Chester Festival.
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