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Benjamin Britten’s

Song Catalogue

Three songs from The heart of the matter

Tenor, Horn and piano

Britten composed the third of his five Canticles, 'Still falls the Rain', a setting of a poem by Edith Sitwell, in 1955. Sitwell, who attended the first performance, was overwhelmed by the work and her response led her to be invited to the 1956 Aldeburgh Festival where it was arranged that she and Britten would collaborate on a programme of her poetry to include further settings specially written for the occasion by Britten. For the event, which was entitled The Heart of the Matter, Britten composed extra music to surround and complement Canticle III which formed the centrepiece of the presentation. These were a Prologue, 'Where are the seeds of the Universal Fire', a song entitled 'We are the darkness in the heat of the day' and an Epilogue, 'So, out of the dark', along with a fanfare for solo horn to frame the entire sequence.

Audio extracts courtesy of EMI Records. Neil Mackie (tenor), Barry Tuckwell (horn), Roger Vignoles (piano) (1986). Reproduced on CD 43 of Decca Classics Benjamin Britten: The Complete Works.

Text Author
Edith Sitwell
8 minutes
Vocal Range
Boosey and Hawkes
Voice Type
Horn and piano
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Brittens Song Catalogue

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