High voice, Orchestra
Britten's first song cycle for voice and orchestra was a commission for the Norfolk and Norwich Triennial Festival in 1936. The texts were assembled by W H Auden, and the poet contributed verse for two of the movements himself. The premiere, by Britten's account, was 'catastrophic', performed by an under-rehearsed orchestra unfamiliar with his musical soundworld; and it was followed by critical reception ranging from baffled to condescending. Critical consternation was shared between the experimental qualities of some of the music (in 'Rats away' for example) and the barely disguised left-wing, pacifist sympathies of Auden's text.
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.