Britten the child genius
Angi Kennedy A world-first concert in Norfolk is set to reveal the childhood brilliance of Benjamin Britten.Never-before-heard works composed by Britten when he was a young boy will be the highlight of the concert in Norwich next month.
A world-first concert in Norfolk is set to reveal the childhood brilliance of Benjamin Britten.
Never-before-heard works composed by Britten when he was a young boy will be the highlight of the concert in Norwich next month.
Britten, a former pupil of Gresham's School at Holt, who became one of the nation's most outstanding composers, wrote an amazing 800 pieces by the age of 18.
He kept his childhood notes throughout his life, but for years most of the works have remained tucked away in archives.
Now a selection will be premiered by the Chamber Orchestra Anglia, including a string quartet written by Britten when he was just 13 years old. It is believed the piece was written for a Norwich string quartet in 1927, although no record has been found of its ever being played.
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Now, 80 years on, the concert of Britten's youthful work is expected to attract international interest.
Lowestoft-born Britten spent every spare moment of his childhood writing music. Many of his early works were penned after joining Gresham's as a boarder in 1928, in a house which has now been named after the composer who ranks among the school's most famous “old boys.”
Since his death in 1976, the pieces have been stored in archives at the Britten-Pears Library, Aldeburgh, where he made his home with his personal and creative partner, the English tenor Peter Pears who died in 1986.
The University of East Anglia's School of Music and the Britten-Pears Foundation is now collaborating on a web-based thematic catalogue of all Britten's works, due to be launched in 2013 to mark the composer's centenary.
Project director of the Britten Thematic Catalogue is Sharon Choa, also founder and conductor of the Chamber Orchestra Anglia whose concert will be at the John Innes Centre on April 4.
She told the EDP: “I feel a great responsibility in presenting these works for the first time to the public”. And she hailed the pieces as being “beautifully crafted” and “very sophisticated”, showing the emerging talent of the young Britten.
t The concert of juvenile and mature work by Benjamin Britten takes place at the John Innes Centre in Norwich on Friday April 4 at 7.15pm. Tickets are £10 and can be bought on the door or through the website: www.chamberorchestraanglia.co.uk