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Benjamin Britten

Publisher: Chester Music

Simple Symphony (1933), 4
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 (1933), 4
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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    The Free Church Hampstead
    North London Colourstrings
  • 11 MAY 2012
    St Swithuns School
  • 28 APR 2012
    Munich, Germany
    Münchner Philharmoniker
    Paavo Järvi, conductor

    Other Dates:
    29,30 April - Munich, Germany
  • 21 APR 2012
    Stantonbury Campus Theatre, Milton Keynes
    Milton Keynes City Orchestra

    Other Dates:
    12 May - Stantonbury Campus Theatre, Milton Keynes
  • 18 APR 2012
    Las Palmas de Gran Canaria SPAIN
    Orquesta Filharmonica de Canarias
  • 17 FEB 2012
    Hanoi, VIETNAM
    Hanoi Philharmonic
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    Highgate United Reformed Church, London
    Senior Strings of the North London Colourstrings Centre
  • 15 JAN 2012
    Nettersheim GERMANY
  • 13 JAN 2012
    Bari, ITALY
    Orchestra Sinfonica di Bari
    Paolo Olmi, conductor

    Other Dates:
    14 January - Bari, ITALY
  • 27 NOV 2011
    Kulturekirche Bremen, GERMANY
    Kammer Sinfonie Bremen
    Tim Gunther, conductor
  • 16 NOV 2011
    North Wall Arts Centre, Oxford
    English Sinfonia
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    Music School
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    Aldeburgh Music Club
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    Istanbul TURKEY
    Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra
    Sascha Goetzel, conductor
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    Rudersdal, Denmark
    Rudersdal kammerorkester
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    Ansbach, Germany
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    Other Dates:
    5 August - Ansbach, Germany
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    Romanian Athenaeum Hall, Bucharest, ROMANIA
    National University of Bucharest
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    Symphony Hall, Birmingham, UK
    CBSO / CBSO Chorus / CBSO Youth Chorus / CBSO Children's Chorus
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  • 29 MAY 2011
    Zürich, Switzerland
    Camerata Zürich
    Kevin Griffiths, conductor
  • 24 MAY 2011
    Fairfax, VA
    Trinity Christian School
    Stephanie Powell, conductor

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