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UMD Chamber Singers: A Celebration of Benjamin Britten

Friday, April 4, 2014
8PM
Gildenhorn Recital Hall

UMD Chamber Singers in performance.The UMD Chamber Singers commemorate the centenary of Benjamin Britten in a concert of the composer’s works, featuring his Hymn to St. Cecilia and Five Flower Songs for unaccompanied chorus.

Don't miss this opportunity to hear individual members of the ensemble shine as they collaborate with other student instrumentalists in Britten’s chamber works. Learn more about Benjamin Britten's life and works in the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library:

  • Biographies and writings about the composer
    Don't miss Music and Sexuality in Britten: Selected Essays — Philip Brett, edited by George E. Haggerty
    Location: Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library — Stacks
    Call Number: ML410 .B853 B64 2006
    Musicologist Philip Brett is the leading expert in the field of Benjamin Britten studies, and his scholarship on Britten’s life and music has provided new insight on not only Britten’s compositional style but on the composer’s views of politics and philosophy. This collection of Brett’s work includes, among other topics, writings on character relationships in Turn of the Screw, politics and violence in Peter Grimes and caricature in Albert Herring. An introduction by MacArthur fellow Susan McClary precedes Brett’s penetrating exploration of the many ways that Britten’s sexual, cultural and personal identity influenced his musical texts.
  • Film:
    A Ceremony of Carols — Benjamin Britten, Christ Church Cathedral Choir, Oxford, England
    Location: UMCP Online Resources Digital Collections, accessible online through WorldCatUM
    Location: Hornbake Library — Media Services Desk
    Call Number: ML3652 .B46 1994 
    This documentary explores the inspiration for Benjamin Britten’s settings of Christmas carols, written while the composer was on traveling from New York to England in March of 1942. During a brief stopover in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Britten discovered The English Galaxy of Shorter Poems in a dockside bookshop, and this pamphlet of medieval verse inspired his A Ceremony of Carols, op. 28. A Ceremony of Carols brings together poems dating from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries in a mixture of Latin and English texts, and is scored for treble voices and harp.
  • Hymn to St. Cecilia, Op. 27: Recordings and score of Op. 27 held in the collections of MSPAL. A highlight of this list includes:
    Spring Symphony, op. 44, Hymn to St. Cecilia, op. 27, Five Flower Songs, op. 47 — Benjamin Britten, The Monteverdi Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by John Eliot Gardiner
    Location: Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library — Paged Collections Room
    Call Number: MCD 10554
    With liner notes by the prominent Benjamin Britten scholar Philip Brett, this recording brings together two Britten works that feature texts by the American poet W.H. Auden. Auden was Britten’s friend and mentor during the composer’s wartime sojourn to the United States between 1939 and 1942, and his poem “Out on the Lawn” is included among a selection of works by various writers that comprise the text of the Spring Symphony, op. 44. Britten’s Hymn to St. Cecilia, op. 27 was composed during his voyage back to England in 1942, and features Auden’s text in a rich and balanced setting.