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Benjamin Britten’s

Song Catalogue

Tit for Tat

Voice, Piano

During the late 1960s, Britten began to revisit some of the works he had written during his remarkably precocious and prolific childhood (a process that would also result in his reviving the Five Walztes (complete with original mis-spelling) for piano a year later and the String Quartet in D in 1974). Originally composed between 1928 and 1931, these five settings of Walter de la Mare were not originally written as an integrated cycle: it was only when Britten prepared them for publication in the spring of 1968 (adding some minor retouchings) that he assembled them into a collection he entitled Tit for Tat and dedicated to Richard de la Mare, son of the poet and, at the time, chairman of Britten's publishers Faber Music. Although in his preface to the published score, Britten wrote 'I hold no claims whatever for the songs' importance or originality', these songs are remarkable for the assurance of their musical language and sensitivity to word-setting, even if the composer's full artistic personality is still some way round the corner. Furthermore, the songs foreshadow various themes and preoccupations which would manifest themselves in many a later Britten work, not least in the final song,'Tit for Tat', which in its condemnation of the uncaring poacher Tom Noddy's ensnaring of helpless animals touches on a subject which Britten would return to on a larger scale in his orchestral song-cycle Our Hunting Fathers composed some six years later.

Audio extracts courtesy of Decca. John Shirley-Quirk (baritone) Benjamin Britten (piano) (1972)

Text Author
Walter de la Mare
Language
English
Publisher
Faber
Type
Collection
Voice Type
Voice
Accompaniment
Piano
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Brittens Song Catalogue

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