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Benjamin Britten’s

Song Catalogue

Serenade

Tenor, String orchestra

Serenade, composed in 1943, represents a return to English poetry after Les illuminations (in French) and Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo (settings in Italian). Widely regarded as one of Britten's finest works, it is a tour de force for both singer and instrumentalists. The tenor is required to perform a whole range of musical styles and emotional states - from exuberant agility in 'Hymn' to snarling menace in 'Dirge' to tender melancholy in 'Elegy'; and the horn part (written originally for Dennis Brain) needs a similarly virtuosic player. Britten originally composed a further setting of Tennyons's 'Now sleeps the crimson petal', but discarded it from the cycle. It was later published as a separate song for tenor, horn and strings.

Audio extracts courtesy of Decca Classics. Peter Pears (tenor), Bary Tuckwell (horn), London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Britten.

Text Author
Various
Length
24 minutes
Language
English
Vocal Range
Publisher
Boosey and Hawkes
Type
Cycle
Voice Type
Tenor
Accompaniment
String orchestra
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Brittens Song Catalogue

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