Monday, 24 September 2012

Britten 100 - a sense of place

Britten and his music were rooted deeply in the East Anglian landscape. Many of the celebrations for the centenary in 2013 are similarly rooted in place, not just Suffolk but all over. at the heart of things of course is Aldeburgh, with Aldeburgh Music at the Snape Maltings and the Britten Pears Foundatiion. The 2013 Festival will be at the centre of next year's events. The Britten Pears Foundation has restored the Red House and people will be able to see Britten's studio for the first time. And Matthew Barley will be playing there on Britten's death day, with the concert being web-cast. Further afield in East Anglia, Fresh Fields are encouraging East Anglian groups, many amateur or voluntary, to join in the celebrations.


Britten's old school, Gresham's in Norfolk, is having its own celebrations running from September 2012 to November 2013. Besides events in the chapel, there will be a specially commissioned dramatisation of Britten's year's at the school, and performances of Britten's works held in manuscript at the school. There will also be a talk by Britten's nephew John Britten.

At Chetham's School of Music, they are spreading their sense of place rather widely. They have announced a series of events designed involve young people; there are no less than four productions of Noyes Fludde, in Manchester, Yorkshire, Devon and the Channel Islands.  There are combined concerts with the Northern Chamber Orchestra in Macclesfield and Chetham's Symphony Orchestra will be performing at Cadogan Hall and the Cheltenham Festival.

In Oxford, there is a year long celebration of Britten's life and work entitled, Britten in Oxford, which acts as an umbrella for concerts, talks masterclasses and workshops. These include the English Chamber Orchestra in the Sheldonian Theatre, a Young Britten Weekend, a study weekend and a choral composition course. Britten's Two Psalms will receive its premiere (alongside the Ballad of Heroes), there is also the War Requiem and numerous other events.

In Birmingham there are similar celebrations, with performances from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham International Concert Season and Ex Cathedral. Works performed include his remarkable youthful compositions A Boy was Born and Rejoice in the Lamb. Edward Gardner will be conducting the CBSO in the Spring Symphony and there is a concert performance of Peter Grimes conducted by Vladimir Jurowski with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Kirill Karabits are exploring Britten's Russian friendships, with Rostropovitch and Shostakovitch.

In Scotland there is a collaboration between the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Scottish Ensemble for two weeks of events showcasing Britten's remarkable talents, with works ranging from the early Simply Symphony to own of his last works Phaedra. Britten's music will be paired with composers who inspired him such as Purcell and Schubert, along with friends and peers like Shostakovich and Part.

From St Cecilia's Day 2012, the Wigmore Hall will be celebrating Britten's chamber music and his role as an educator in their Before life and After, along with an exhibition detailing Britten's long association with the hall. Highlights include Britten's Canticles, performed on 30 November and a variety of fine artists such as Ann Murray, John Mark Ainsley and Malcolm Martineau.

http://www.greshams.com/britten100
http://www.chethams.com
http://www.britteninoxford.co.uk/
http://www.birminghambritten.co.uk/
http://www.bsolive.com/
http://www.wigmore-hall.org.uk/




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