High voice, Orchestra
Britten composed this group of French songs when aged just 14 years old and dedicated it to his parents. The inscription 'Dedicated to Mr and Mrs R. V. Britten on the twenty-seventh aniversary of their wedding, September 5th 1928' is written on the front of the fair copy. Britten later arranged this work for voice and piano, but the published vocal score is a reduction of the orchestral version and is not Britten's voice and piano arrangement. The songs show a startling precocity and a departure into a new, palpably French soundworld - there are clear evocations of the vocal music of Debussy in not only the manner of text-setting but also in the sensuous orchestration. The collection was published in 1982 requiring very little in the way of editorial or corrections.
Audio extracts courtesy of EMI Records. Jill Gomez (soprano), City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. Reproduced on CD 40 of Decca Classics Benjamin Britten: The Complete Works.
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