20 November 2012
Britten Centenary Opening Weekend at Aldeburgh Music
Aldeburgh celebrates the festive season and Benjamin Britten with
TEMPLE CHURCH CHOIR, POLYPHONY,
ALDEBURGH VOICES & JUBILEE OPERA CHORUS
Friday 7 and Saturday 8 December 2012 at 7.30pm
While Aldeburgh Music’s nationwide singing project Friday Afternoons swings into action across the UK, two carol concerts on December 7 and 8 at Aldeburgh Parish Church and Snape Maltings respectively herald the opening of a year-long Britten centenary programme taking place in the halls, churches and villages that were home to Britten and his works during his lifetime.
On Friday 7 December Aldeburgh Voices under Ben Parry and Jubilee Opera Chorus under David Briggs team up to present a sequence of Christmas music and readings at Aldeburgh Parish Church featuring music by Britten, Colin Matthews and Ben Parry. Throughout his life Britten took an interest in setting music to Christmas texts and carols, from large-scale collections to miniatures, arrangements and originals, music written for amateurs, professionals, adults and children. So it is particularly appropriate that this first concert of the centenary year features Christmas music sung by the combined forces of Jubilee Opera Chorus and Aldeburgh Voices – whose roots can both be traced to Britten and Pears’ Festival choruses.
The following day, Saturday 8 December, Polyphony under Stephen Layton and Temple Church Choir under James Vivian are joined at Snape Maltings Concert Hall by harpist Sally Pryce, to present works by Britten and Poulenc. The programme features Britten’s popular A Ceremony of Carols, as well as the earlier choral cantata A Boy was Born which, although completed whilst Britten was still in his teens, already bears his trademark of melding children’s voices with adults, and fusing ancient forms and texts with modern techniques.
Aldeburgh Music’s centenary celebrations continue on Friday 1 February with PLACE, a cross-arts weekend exploring the theme of roots through the lens of Britten and Suffolk. The performances include a work commissioned from Chris Watson and inspired by Britten’s daily composing walks, “my music now has its roots, in where I live and work” Benjamin Britten (1964).