BENJAMIN BRITTEN HYMN TO THE VIRGIN PDF

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Benjamin Britten. Benjamin Britten was perhaps the greatest English composer of the 20th century. His most important contribution to English music was a revival of interest in native operas, which his works still dominate. However, his output ran the full gamut of mediums, including numerous song cycles, choral and instrumental works, and innovative music for amateurs and children.

During his lifetime, Britten received numerous awards and honors, including becoming the first musician honored with the title of Life Peer in the Order of Merit ironically, given the year he died. Britten's choral compositions were greatly influenced by the music of Henry Purcell, especially that composer's mastery of the verse anthem the alternation between soloists for verses and choir for responsories. A Hymn to the Virgin is an ideal example of Britten's emulation of this form while adding his own distinctive imprint.

Instead of the traditional verse-refrain form of the verse anthem, Britten has the full choir singing an English text and a solo quartet responding in Latin in close antiphony. The anonymous macaronic, or mixed-language, text is from the 14th century.

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28. A Hymn to the Virgin

Benjamin Britten. Benjamin Britten was perhaps the greatest English composer of the 20th century. His most important contribution to English music was a revival of interest in native operas, which his works still dominate. However, his output ran the full gamut of mediums, including numerous song cycles, choral and instrumental works, and innovative music for amateurs and children. During his lifetime, Britten received numerous awards and honors, including becoming the first musician honored with the title of Life Peer in the Order of Merit ironically, given the year he died.

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A Hymn to the Virgin

I am quite a fan of the music of Benjamin Britten, whether the early works such as the rumbustious Sinfonietta or the playful Frank Bridge Variations , the middle masterpieces like Peter Grimes or the War Requiem , or the austere final works such as Death in Venice or Phaedra. I had thought until recently that my favourite works of his were the wonderfully inventive Nocturne for tenor, strings and obbligato instruments or the paired-down genius of the church parable Curlew River , but I have recently been reassessing my judgement and decided that my favourite work is one of the earliest — A Hymn to the Virgin. It is, however, undoubtedly not a work of juvenilia but rather one of the most subtle, mature and succinct works Britten would ever compose, and certainly one of his most successful sacred pieces. In writing this blog entry I picked three random books on Britten to see what was written on the Hymn to the Virgin , and was shocked to discover that it was hardly featured in any of them.

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Benjamin Britten’s “A Hymn to the Virgin”: VOCES8

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