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Introduced by BCMG Artist-in-Association, the composer John Woolrich
Oboe: Melinda Maxwell, Clarinet: Joanna Patton
Piano: Malcolm Wilson, Violin: Alexandra Wood
Viola: Christopher Yates, Cello: Ulrich Heinen
BCMG celebrates Britten’s centenary with a programme (curated by John Woolrich) featuring his earlier composing life, framed with similarly smallscale pieces from composers with close connections to him.
Always fascinating and beautifully crafted, the BRITTEN pieces show him at a crossroads. Elegy is an affecting, technically assured work, composed in a single day by the 17 year-old. Going downhill on a bicycle is an experimental fun piece for violin and piano, written for the leading English oboist of the day, Leon Goossens, while the single-movement Phantasy Quartet harks back to the fantasies for viols that were a prominent feature of 17th century English music. His Suite is more characteristically ‘Britten’, showing the young composer with a distinct voice at only 21.
ALBAN BERG’s (the young Britten’s favourite composer) beautiful thundering Four Pieces are his only true miniatures, and COPLAND’s smoky, blues-inspired Nocturne and Ukulele pastiche Serenade dates from around when he first met Britten at his home in Snape. Bringing us right up to the present day, OLIVER KNUSSEN (BCMG’s Artist-in-Association) was encouraged by Britten when young, and HENZE’s Olly on the Shore pictures him standing on the same stretch of Suffolk shoreline that Britten called home.
Interval: Meet the curator, John Woolrich