Benjamin Britten

BrittenThis fall the Chancel Choir is singing three of Benjamin Britten’s best known choral works celebrating the centennial of his birth. Britten was one of the 20th century’s foremost composers writing works in many musical mediums including choir, orchestra, opera, and instrumental and vocal solos.

He was frequently commissioned by the BBC and the British government to compose music for special events. He was influenced by American composers such as Aaron Copeland as he was in the US from 1939 through 1943. The British government wanted him to remain in the US during WWII as a British Artistic Ambassador, but he returned to Britain during the height of the war.

On September 29th the choir sang his “Festival Te Deum” and will present “Jubilate Deo” and the extended choral work, “Rejoice in the Lamb” later this Fall.

Raised in the Anglican tradition, Britten was not a religious person, but had a unique gift to set texts to music that very few composers possess.

Two of the texts used for our worship services are from the Anglican chant and the “Rejoice in the Lamb” text is by the 17th century English poet, Christopher Smart.

These compositions were composed during WWII which was a very productive time in Britten’s life. The Oregon Symphony is presenting his “War Requiem” this fall, which was composed during the early 1960s. Other popular works are his opera “Peter Grimes” and the “Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra”.

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