Go to BPF Website

Benjamin Britten’s

Song Catalogue

Canticle I My beloved is mine

High Voice, Piano

The first canticle, for tenor and piano, was written in 1947 and first performed in November of that year at a memorial concert for Dick Sheppard (founder of the Peace Pledge Union). It sets a poem by the 17th century metaphysical poet Francis Quarles, derived from verses from the Song of Solomon. Although ostensibly a text celebrating the poet’s ecstatic communion with God, Britten clearly meant the work also to be interpreted as a declaration of the personal and professional relationship that now existed between himself and Pears. The composer described the form of the work as “a new invention”, though partly modelled on Purcell’s Divine Hymns which he was editing for publication at around this time. Although through-composed, the work is clearly divided into four distinct sections: a smoothly-flowing barcarolle, aptly reflecting the water imagery of the first two stanzas, a short recitative followed by a nervously excited scherzo with springing canonic writing and, as Epilogue, a Lento characterised by solemn dotted Lombard rhythms (which Britten had used to very different effect in ‘O my blacke soule’ from his John Donne sonnets), accompanying rapt vocal phrases representing the spiritual union of the poet and his beloved.

Text Author
Francis Quarles
Year of Composition
4 - 12 Sep 1947
Length
7 minutes
Language
English
Vocal Range
Publisher
Boosey and Hawkes
Type
Individual
Voice Type
High Voice
Instrument
Piano
Buy Score

 Listen to the audio sample

Brittens Song Catalogue

You can browse Britten’s Song Catalogue in three different ways. If you know a key word or title from any song cycle, movement or individual song then use the Search too. If you are looking for a range of songs that fit your specific requirements then use the Refine tool where you can select from a number of options. If you just want to view what songs are available within different categories then use the Explore tool.

Which ever way you choose, we hope you find what you’re looking for.

icon-search

Search

Text based keyword search for matching titles darr

icon-refine

Refine

Results based on your selected options darr

icon-explore

Explore

View every available song, indexed into categories darr