Hagley String Orchestra


We seem to be concentrating on composers’ youthful works this term.   Haydn wrote his Cassation in his early twenties, and Mendelssohn composed his 8th String Symphony when he was about 14.  Another amazingly talented youth was Benjamin Britten (1913-1976).

We’re playing Britten’s Simple Symphony, which he wrote in 1934 when he was 20.  However, the tunes he uses in this 4-movement piece he originally composed from the age of 11.   He had begun piano lessons when he was 7, and these early pieces were written for solo piano.   He became a superb pianist, particularly in accompaniment, although his shyness made him reticent in performing in public.   The world-renowned accompanist Gerald Moore wrote that he avoided playing at the Aldeburgh Festival ‘as the presiding genius there is the greatest accompanist in the world.’

The Simple Symphony is in the traditional Classic symphonic format: ‘Boisterous Bourrée’; ‘Playful Pizzicato’; ‘Sentimental Saraband’ and ‘Frolicsome Finale’.  Britten’s string orchestration inspired by these piano pieces is masterly, but the ‘Simple’ title is a misnomer as technically the music is challenging!  Britten dedicated this work to his viola teacher.

For more information on H.S.O., please contact Haydn Thomas on (01562) 885252; sanhay50@gmail.com  Jeremy Patterson Conductor

Haydn Thomas
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Last update: Wednesday 28 February 2018

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