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Benjamin Britten

Publisher: Chester Music

Simple Symphony, Op. 4 (1933)
Chester Music Ltd
Sub Category
String Orchestra
Year Composed
18 Minutes
Alternate Orchestration
string quartet

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Programme Note
Benjamin Britten Simple Symphony, Op. 4 (1933)
Britten's note states that 'this "Simple Symphony" is entirely based on material which the composer wrote between the ages of nine and twelve. (The actual sources are given in footnotes to each movement.)'. In fact Britten's references are rather brief and imprecise; the sources (with their original opus numbers) are:

Boisterous Bourrée
(a) 'From Suite No. 1 (for piano) - 1926': Suite No. 1 in E, op. 24 no. 1 (18 October 1925), second movement (Bourrée: Allegro vivace)
(b) 'Song - 1923': A Country Dance ('Now the King is home again'), text from Tennyson's The Foresters, for voice and piano ([1923])

Playful Pizzicato
(a) 'Scherzo (piano) 1924': Sonata for Piano in B flat major, op. 5 ([probably summer 1925]), Scherzo and Trio (Molto vivace)
(b) 'Song - 1924': The Road Song of the "Bandar-Log" ('Here we go in a flung festoon', text by Rudyard Kipling), for voice and piano ([1923?])

Sentimental Saraband
(a) 'From Suite No. 3 (for piano) - 1925': Suite No. 3, in F# minor, for piano, op. 25 (October 1925), Prelude (Allegro di molto)
(b) 'Waltz for piano - 1923': [Waltz in B major for piano] (1923), (Tempo di valse)

Frolicsome Finale
(a) 'From Piano Sonata No. 9 - 1926': Piano Sonata No. 9, in C# minor, op. 38 (March 1926), Finale
(b) 'Song - 1925': not identified. The only dates in the composition draft are 'Jan 20th 1934' (no. 4) and 'Feb. 10th 1934' (no. 1); from Britten's diary it appears that work on the Symphony began with the scherzo (23 December-17 January).

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    Northern Sinfonia
    Steuart Bedford
  • 02 JUL 2015
    München, Germany
    Münchner Kammerorchester
    Daniel Giglberger, conductor
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    University of Nottingham Strings
  • 19 DEC 2014
    Sala de Plenos del Ayuntamiento, San Sebastián.
    Joven Orquesta y Coro de la Comunidad de Madrid
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    20 December - Centro Cultural Caja de Miranda de Ebro, Burgos.
  • 15 NOV 2014
    Ingelheim, Germany
    Sinfonieorchester der Musikschule Ingelheim
    Christian Ferel, conductor

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    16 November - Wiesbaden, Germany
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    Nerit SA Music Ensembles
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    Straßburg, Germany
    Akademisches Orchester Karlsruhe
    Michael Klubertanz, conductor
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    Kulturhus Ytterjärna, Sweden
    Matts Zetterqvist , conductor

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    Wuppertal, Germany
    Toshiyuki Kamioka
    Sinfonieorchester Wuppertal, conductor
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    Boswil, Switzerland
    Jugendorchester Freiamt
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    8 August - Niederwil, Switzerland
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    Feldberg, Germany
    Neubrandenburger Philharmonie
    Jörg Pitschmann, conductor
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    Frankfurt, Germany
    Skyline Symphony - Frankfurter Kammerorchester
    Michael Sanderling, conductor
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    Hengsberg, Austria
    Modus 21
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    Leer, Germany
    Collegium Musicum Leer
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    Neubrandenburg, Germany
    Neubrandenburger Philharmonie
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    15 June - Neustrelitz, Germany
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    Sala Filharmonii, Krakow, Poland
    Orkiestra Filharmoni Krakowskiej
    Michal Dworzynski, conductor
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    Mainz, Germany
    Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Mainz
    Stephan Zilias, conductor

    Other Dates:
    5 June - Mainz, Germany
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    Delfshaven, Holland
    Rotterdam Philharmonic Strings
    Yannick Nezet -Seguin, conductor
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    Prague, Czech
    Czech Philharmony
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    Neuss, Germany
    Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss
    Florian Donderer, conductor
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    Busan Culture Arts Centre, South Korea
    Busan Philharmonic Orchestra
    Li Xincao, conductor
  • 10 JAN 2014
    Royal Academy of Music
    RAM Students
  • 13 DEC 2013
    L'Auditori, Barcelona.
    Orquesta Sinfonica de Barcelona
    John Nelson, conductor

    Other Dates:
    14,15 December - L'Auditori, Barcelona.
  • 13 DEC 2013
    St Jospeh's Church, Ireland
    St Joseph's Church
  • 26 NOV 2013
    Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance
    Trinity String Ensemble
  • 23 NOV 2013
    Essex Youth Chamber Orchestra
  • 16 NOV 2013
    St Edmunsbury Cathedral, Bury St Edmunds
    Bury St Edmunds Bach Choir
  • 12 NOV 2013
    Central Conservatory of Music Beijing, China
    Central Conservatory of Music Students
    Lionel Friend, conductor
  • 08 NOV 2013
    Universitetets Aula Oslo, Norway
    Det Norske Kammerorkester
    Terje Tønnesen, conductor
  • 07 NOV 2013
    San Antonio, U.S.A
    Chamber Orchestra of San Antonio
    Francisco J. Nuñez, conductor
  • 17 OCT 2013
    Unversity College London

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