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Northwest Sinfonietta Music off the Record The British are Coming: Celebrating the Benjamin Britten Centenary Dr. Ken Owen.

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Presentation on theme: "Northwest Sinfonietta Music off the Record The British are Coming: Celebrating the Benjamin Britten Centenary Dr. Ken Owen."— Presentation transcript:

1 Northwest Sinfonietta Music off the Record The British are Coming: Celebrating the Benjamin Britten Centenary Dr. Ken Owen

2 The British are coming! Paul Revere Happy Veterans Day! Different for music

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4 Henry Purcell ( ) How do you say it? Anglophiles? England a mess Just before Henry’s birth

5 Oliver Cromwell Hates music, dance, art etc. Hates Christmas Great tradition of church music destroyed People hate him Son takes over ◦ Asks King to return

6 Cromwell & Purcell King Charles II has Cromwells body put on trial and hanged ◦ Don’t mess with the music! ◦ Henry 1 year old Henry Purcell - Who’s your Daddy? ◦ Henry or Thomas?  Orphaned  Raised by Uncle who called him son.

7 Henry Young Henry part of restored English tradition ◦ boy choirs in Cathedrals. Scholarship to Westminster school ◦ Voice changed later back then ◦ When voice changed stayed in Westminster  “Keeper, maker, mender, repairer and tuner of instruments.”

8 Henry Scores his first bit hit at age 20 Writes Chacony the next year. Continued studies with John Blow ◦ Blow resigns from position as head organist So Purcell can take the job

9 Henry’s resting place Burried at foot of Westminster Abby organ

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11 Chacony Chacony = chaconne Dances important in Royal courts Different dances from different countries All danced in all Part of royal upbringing Chaconne from Spain

12 dotted rhythms ground “bass” – Purcell creativity

13 Benjamin Britten ( ) Child prodigy Childhood compositions get attn. of Frank Bridge ◦ Bridge didn’t take students ◦ Taught Britten to 17

14 Britten Royal College of Music ◦ Not as good as Frank ◦ Graduates at 22 Job writing film scores ◦ Friends w/W. H. Auden  “edgy” controversial  Collaborated & music fit – audience didn’t

15 Britten Auden left for USA “where people are more open minded” ◦ Britten followed Homesick Britten reads British poetry – goes home

16 Britten Began to refine how to set English to music ◦ On boat home wrote Hymn to St. Cecilia Horn player asks for composition – serenade Peter Grimes

17 Serenade Denis Brain, horn player ◦ Friends from film score days ◦ Serenade for Brain, Pears and string orchestra English poetry spanning 15 th – 19 th century

18 Serenade for Tenor Horn and Strings I – Prologue - solo horn, natural harmonics II - Pastoral - 17 th century English poem gentle descending arpeggios III - Nocturne (Tennyson) horn/ tenor conversation “Blow bugle blow.” IV - Elegy (William Blake) pulsing chords, harmonic climaxes, dissonant horn lines. V – Dirge – voice alone, then orchestra contrast VI – Hymn – hunting horn, horn/tenor conversation VII – Sonnet (Keats) ethereal and melancholy VIII – Epilog – horn alone

19 Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge Based on theme by his teacher

20 Var. on Frank During film-score job (for the post office) Commission from Boyd Neel orchestra ◦ For Salzburg Festival Bridge theme from “Idyll” ◦ String quartet

21 Each movement related to Bridge’s character I. IntroductionPresents theme II. Adagiointegrity, depth III. Marchenergy IV. Romancecharm V. Aria Italianawit, humour VI. Bourée Classiquetradition VII. Wiener Waltzerenthusiasm VIII. Moto Perpetuovitality IX. Funeral Marchsympathy or understanding X. Chantreverence XI. Fugue and Finaleskill and affection

22 Edward Elgar ( ) Dad was music store owner/piano tuner/ town musician No formal training ◦ Learned from Dad ◦ Few violin lessons from a local

23 Elgar Worked in Worcester Various musical gigs Took over Dad’s job as church organist Worcester phill Glee club Taught violin Composed

24 Elgar Enigma Variations established Oratorios Left England to relax ◦ Wales – melody of Intro & Allegro Dedicated to Yale professor

25 Introduction and allegro String quartet against large group of strings Handel’s concerto grosso? Frequent divisi in strings Lush English string writing tradition


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