Unheard Britten Orchestral Works Recorded by Conservatoire Students

Musical Opinion, July/August 2012 | Go to article overview

Unheard Britten Orchestral Works Recorded by Conservatoire Students


Students from the Birmingham Conservatoire, part of Birmingham City University, have been recording extracts of works by Benjamin Britten which have never been heard before. A famously precocious composer, Britten archived the scores of his early, often very ambitious works, which he did not believe suitable for public performance. Only now is it possible to take a longer view and present these extracts, which will be of enormous interest both to the general public and specialists.

The recordings by students from Birmingham Conservatoire, will contribute to the online Britten Thematic Catalogue Project, a complete collection of all of Britten's works currently being compiled by the Britten-Pears Foundation (BPF).

The four-day recording sessions took place at Birmingham Conservatoire, with the Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lionel Friend. Colin Matthews, Director of Music from the BPF and Michael Harris, Senior Woodwind Tutor at Birmingham Conservatoire were also in attendance. Michael said: "This project has been an inspiration for me from the outset. From being handed boxes of original manuscripts of hitherto unperformed works of Britten at the Britten-Pears Foundation, to watching and hearing our students record them has been a huge honour and privilege.

"It was thrilling to see the enthusiasm, energy and skill which the students brought to the sessions," added Michael. …

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