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Thread: Benjamin Britten

  1. #46
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    For some odd reason, I come to Britten's music only a five years go, having been a musician for a much longer time. His Violin Concerto was the first work I heard and I immediately thought of him as one of the greatest of the 20th century composers. His orchestration technique is original and smart. The development sections of his large-scale works are simply delightful.
    - Ken

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  3. #47
    Senior Member Sieglinde's Avatar
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    I met his music in early 2009. I knew he *existed* but never heard his works, then it hit me I want to hear Billy Budd. I actually read it first and then watched the '88 ENO version.

    And so I discovered there *is* a tenor type I love! I was totally like "a man begins around baritone"... but Captain Vere was love at first hearing.

    And I also discovered a lot of singers I didn't know before.

    And what made me first want to hear his music? His world is a slash paradise. So much ANGST!

  4. #48
    Senior Member Vaneyes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KJohnson View Post
    For some odd reason, I come to Britten's music only a five years go, having been a musician for a much longer time. His Violin Concerto was the first work I heard and I immediately thought of him as one of the greatest of the 20th century composers. His orchestration technique is original and smart. The development sections of his large-scale works are simply delightful.
    I share your appreciation. Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge isn't the first Britten work I heard, but it became my favorite. A recording that catches it so well...


  5. #49
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    Concur with the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings. A haunting work. I'm also fond of the Suites for solo cello. The comic opera Albert Herring shows a quite different side of the composer.

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    Senior Member Il_Penseroso's Avatar
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    His music is not my taste. Often informal and not so thematic ... But I remember when I was very young I listened to his War Requiem so much. I also enjoy one of his early works, Simple Symphony for String Orchestra, completed when he was only 20. It's really beautiful and an exception for me : I think such a work could be written only by a genius !

  7. #51
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    I would suggest that Britten's KEY works are as follows:

    Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge Op 10
    Violin Concerto Op 15
    Les illuminations Op 18 (soprano versions are better than tenor imho)
    Sinfonia da Requiem Op 20
    A Ceremony of Carols Op 28
    Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings Op 31
    Peter Grimes Op 33 (and the Three Sea Interludes and Passacaglia extracted from it)
    The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra Op 34
    Albert Herring Op 39
    St Nicolas Op 42
    Spring Symphony Op 44
    Billy Budd Op 50
    The Turn of the Screw Op 54
    The Prince of the Pagodas Op 57
    Nocturne Op 60
    War Requiem Op 66
    Cello Symphony Op 68
    Cello Suite No 3 Op 87
    Death in Venice Op 88
    Phaedra Op 93
    String Quartet No 3 Op 94

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  9. #52
    Senior Member clavichorder's Avatar
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    I heard his violin concerto live last year, and I was probably not in the right mood to appreciate it, now I have it on recording and am finding it satisfying to listen to. I'm just getting into this composer with Sinfonia Da Requiem, the Violin Concerto, and Symphony for Cell and Orchestra, as well as Four Sea Interludes, and Peter Grimes.

  10. #53
    Senior Member robert's Avatar
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    I can VERY HIGHLY rec the cd

    John Veale, Benjamin Britten Violin Concertos
    Lydia Mordkovitch
    BBC S.O.
    Richard Hickox

    The Britten is great but the Veale turned out to be quite a surprise......
    WHEN WORDS FAIL, MUSIC SPEAKS

  11. #54
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    The only Britten I have is the London CD with Rostropovich featuring the Cello Symphony.

    That's enough for me. I'm more interested in composers like Lutoslawski, and Ligeti.

  12. #55
    Senior Member violadude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by World Violist View Post
    Actually, I was under the impression that the Simple Symphony, along with the Young Person's Guide, is one of his more famous works, especially since a lot of high school orchestras try to play it... (I've sightread it once a few years ago, and by "sightread" I mean scrambling around for notes that aren't terribly simple)
    I know this quote was from a couple years ago, but OMG YA! That fugue at the end is ungodly to play...

  13. #56
    Senior Member violadude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mirror Image View Post
    Ah, so the link to Shostakovich is not just musical, but personal as well? I think I saw a picture of Shostakovich with Britten somewhere on the internet. I'll have to see if I can find it and post it here.

    Here it is:

    Oh dear...no disrespect, but now I know why Shostakovich never smiled...

    Anyway, I only scanned through the thread but I didn't see anyone mention the string quartets. Those are really great pieces. I especially like 1 and 3, I have yet to enjoy #2 quite as much.

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  15. #57
    Senior Member Vaneyes's Avatar
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    OC's 'Benjamming with Britten'.

    http://operachic.typepad.com/opera_c...-festival.html



    In his centenary year, an update on the health of Benjamin Britten.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2013...y-cardiologist
    Last edited by Vaneyes; Jan-23-2013 at 06:51.

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  17. #58
    Senior Member sharik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bach View Post
    Great opera composer though.
    hmm, i for one wasn't much impressed by his Death in Venice and The Turn of The Srew and the way there vocal parts sound.

  18. #59
    Senior Member sharik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sid James View Post
    Shostakovich was treated a bit like a celebrity in Western classical circles. He was certainly the biggest name in Eastern European classical at the time, long before the emergence of composers like Part, Gulbaidulina, Lutoslawski, Penderecki, Schnittke, Kurtag, and others. Perhaps he still overshadows these composers somewhat
    because he is better than them all. Shostakovitch - a genius of Wagner standard while the rest are merely talented composers, correct me if i'm wrong.

  19. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharik View Post
    because he is better than them all. Shostakovitch - a genius of Wagner standard while the rest are merely talented composers, correct me if i'm wrong.
    Have you heard all of Shostakovich's music? He was one of the most uneven composers of the 20th century. While he DID write some marvellous works, he also wrote some real turkeys. Shostakovich didn't really carve out any new ground in the way that Wagner did - his feet were firmly rooted in the late-Romantic tradition. I think the comparison of Shostakovich and Wagner doesn't really stand up.

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