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Benjamin Britten

Biography

Born in Suffolk on 22 November 1913 (propitiously, the feast day of St Cecilia, patron saint of music) Benjamin Britten began piano lessons aged five, composing songs for his mother by the age of ten. At 13 he began composition ...

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Biography

Born in Suffolk on 22 November 1913 (propitiously, the feast day of St Cecilia, patron saint of music) Benjamin Britten began piano lessons aged five, composing songs for his mother by the age of ten. At 13 he began composition studies with Frank Bridge before entering the Royal College of Music in 1930. His documentary scores for the GPO (General Post Office) Film Unit brought him into collaboration with W. H. Auden, a liberating force, and in 1937 he not only attracted international attention with his Frank Bridge Variations at the Salzburg Festival, but also met the tenor Peter Pears, who would remain a lifelong partner and vocal interpreter.

Britten revitalised English opera with his first stage triumph Peter Grimes (1945), launching the Aldeburgh Festival three years later. He performed often as a conductor and pianist, and though he wrote a significant number of chamber and choral works (among them three string quartets, and the War Requiem, 1961) it is principally for his vocal and especially opera output that he continues to be remembered.

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4 Sea interludes from Peter Grimes Op.33a: no.4 'Storm'
Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes Op 33a: 2: Sunday
Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes Op 33a: 2: Sunday
Conductor
Last played on
Soirees musicales for orchestra (Op.9) [after Rossini], March & Canzonetta
Soirees musicales for orchestra (Op.9) [after Rossini], March & Canzonetta
Last played on
Gloriana - symphonic suite Op.53a [with tenor solo ad lib]
Gloriana - symphonic suite Op.53a [with tenor solo ad lib]
Last played on
Hymn to St Cecilia
Hymn to St Cecilia
Performer
The Sixteen, Harry Christophers (conductor)
4 Sea interludes [from 'Peter Grimes'] (Op.33a) [concert version]
4 Sea interludes [from 'Peter Grimes'] (Op.33a) [concert version]
Conductor
Phantasy for string quintet in F minor [1932]
Phantasy for string quintet in F minor [1932]
Performer
Lawrence Power
Ensemble
RTE Vanbrugh String Quartet
Variations on a theme by Frank Bridge (Op.10)
Variations on a theme by Frank Bridge (Op.10)
Conductor
Plamen Djourov
7 Sonnets of Michelangelo for tenor and piano (Op.22), no.1; Si come nella penna
7 Sonnets of Michelangelo for tenor and piano (Op.22), no.1; Si come nella penna
Performer
Graham Johnson
Last played on
A Hymn to the Virgin for chorus [with semi-chorus]
A Hymn to the Virgin for chorus [with semi-chorus]
Last played on
Peter Grimes - Embroidery in childhood
Peter Grimes - Embroidery in childhood
Orchestra
Britten-Pears Orchestra
Singer
Giselle Allen
David Kempster
Last played on
Deus in adjutorium meum
Deus in adjutorium meum
Choir
National Youth Chamber Choir
Last played on
Chacony in G minor Z.730
Chacony in G minor Z.730
Conductor
Gavin Sutherland
Music Arranger
Death in Venice, aria: Receive The Stranger God
Death in Venice, aria: Receive The Stranger God
Performer
Philip Langridge, City of London Sinfonia, cond Richard Hickox,BBC Singers
Young Apollo
Young Apollo
Performer
Steven Osborne piano, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
Noye’s Fludde – Take Thy Wife
Noye’s Fludde – Take Thy Wife
Performer
Performers not listed
Winter Words: At the Railway Station, Upway and Before Life and After
Winter Words: At the Railway Station, Upway and Before Life and After
Serenade for tenor, horn and string orchestra (Op.31)
Serenade for tenor, horn and string orchestra (Op.31)
Singer
Benjamin Butterfield
Rejoice in the Lamb – Rejoice in God, O ye Tongues
Rejoice in the Lamb – Rejoice in God, O ye Tongues
Last played on
Simple symphony Op.4 for string orchestra or string quartet
Simple symphony Op.4 for string orchestra or string quartet
Last played on
Choral Dances from Gloriana - Coronation opera for Elizabeth II (Op.53)
Choral Dances from Gloriana - Coronation opera for Elizabeth II (Op.53)
Singer
David Hurley
String Quartet No. 2 in C major (Op.36)
String Quartet No. 2 in C major (Op.36)
Ensemble
Yggdrasil String Quartet
The Sally Gardens
The Sally Gardens
Performer
Mairi Campbell and Concerto Caledonia
Quartet no.3, op.94: second movement (Ostinato)
Quartet no.3, op.94: second movement (Ostinato)
Ensemble
Navarra Quartet
Last played on
Variations on a theme by Frank Bridge (Op.10)
Variations on a theme by Frank Bridge (Op.10)
Ensemble
The Royal Academy Soloists
Director
Suite for harp (Overture + Toccata)
A Ceremony of Carols excerpts
A Ceremony of Carols excerpts
Performer
Lisa Viguier Vallgarda
Singer
Love Enström
Lisa Carlioth
Choir
Swedish Radio Chorus
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