Benjamin Britten. Benjamin Britten was perhaps the greatest English composer of the 20th century. His most important contribution to English music was a revival of interest in native operas, which his works still dominate. However, his output ran the full gamut of mediums, including numerous song cycles, choral and instrumental works, and innovative music for amateurs and children. During his lifetime, Britten received numerous awards and honors, including becoming the first musician honored with the title of Life Peer in the Order of Merit ironically, given the year he died. Britten's choral compositions were greatly influenced by the music of Henry Purcell, especially that composer's mastery of the verse anthem the alternation between soloists for verses and choir for responsories.
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A lyrical melody and effective refrain sung by a semi-chorus combine to considerable dramatic and emotional effect. It is remarkable that so accomplished a piece was written when the composer was only 16, and suffering illness.
That entry dates from the 9 July He revised the piece at the end of that year, and did further revision four years later for its publication. The text that Britten uses is by an anonymous poet and probably dates from about The main body of the choir sings in Middle English and another semi-chorus or group of soloists supplies a refrain in Latin.
It is, in all aspects, an extraordinary work for a composer who was yet to begin his formal studies at the Royal College of Music, although its revision and refinement clearly owe much to the teaching Britten had received from Frank Bridge. A Hymn to the Virgin. Photographer: unidentified. Share with us using hashtag brittenpears "The museum has an amazing and fascinating collection in impeccable condition.
The guided house tour is an absolute must see. We are excited to share that we have acquired the. Garden Manager Penny has been looking after the ga. For us or Britten, Pears or Imogen Holst we imagi. Here we have one of our favourite photos from the. We might not be able to enjoy them firsthand at th. We are pleased to confirm that on 31 March th. Our latest episode for 'From The Red House' podcas. Judith, one of our Archive team, wrote an article.
28. A Hymn to the Virgin
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Benjamin Britten’s “A Hymn to the Virgin”: VOCES8
I am quite a fan of the music of Benjamin Britten, whether the early works such as the rumbustious Sinfonietta or the playful Frank Bridge Variations , the middle masterpieces like Peter Grimes or the War Requiem , or the austere final works such as Death in Venice or Phaedra. I had thought until recently that my favourite works of his were the wonderfully inventive Nocturne for tenor, strings and obbligato instruments or the paired-down genius of the church parable Curlew River , but I have recently been reassessing my judgement and decided that my favourite work is one of the earliest — A Hymn to the Virgin. It is, however, undoubtedly not a work of juvenilia but rather one of the most subtle, mature and succinct works Britten would ever compose, and certainly one of his most successful sacred pieces. In writing this blog entry I picked three random books on Britten to see what was written on the Hymn to the Virgin , and was shocked to discover that it was hardly featured in any of them. I would have thought this small but beautifully formed masterpiece would be worth a few more sentences? The choir is split into two groups who respond antiphonally one then the other each taking off from where the other finished. The simple, homophonic, diatonic harmony is clear and bright moving effortlessly around A and D minor and the form of the piece is equally clear with a slower more serene A section moving to a more animated B section half way through 2.
Britten B - A Hymn to the Virgin