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Benjamin Britten

Publisher: Chester Music

Simple Symphony (1933), 4
Publisher
Chester Music Ltd
Category
Orchestra
Sub Category
String Orchestra
Year Composed
1933
Duration
18 Minutes
Orchestration
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).


Preview the score:

  • Ensemble
    Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
    Decca - Classic FM:
  • Ensemble
    European Camerata
    Conductor
    Laurent Quenelle
    Fuga Libera:
  • Ensemble
    Northern Sinfonia
    Conductor
    Steuart Bedford
    Naxos:
Performances
Date
Title
  • 22 SEP 2019
    Düsseldorf, Germany
    Deutsche Kammerakademie Neuss
    Isabelle van Keulen, conductor
  • 01 OCT 2019
    Mariinsky Theatre / St Petersburg / Russia
    Mariinsky Theatre

    Other Dates:
    12 October - Mariinsky Theatre / St Petersburg / Russia
  • 05 OCT 2019
    ASU Gammage, Tempe, AZ
    ASU Symphony Orchestra
    Jeffery Meyer, conductor

    Other Dates:
    9 October - ASU Gammage, Tempe, AZ
  • 31 OCT 2019
    Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany
    Orchester St. Marien
    Mross-Lamberti, Heike, conductor
  • 11 NOV 2019
    The Venue Leeds / Leeds / UK
    Leeds College of Music Chamber Orchestra
    Helen Harrison, conductor

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