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Guide to Britten - The Titfield Thunderbolt
Heisenberg might have stayed here
Guide to Britten
Prom 41 was a re-creation of a 1963 Prom, which had been a concert of Benjamin Britten conducting his own music and an arrangement of Purcell. In the reconstruction, this was replaced with an arrangement of Purcell's Chacony in G Minor by Jody Talbot. It worked quite well, and although I recognised the theme I would like to be more familiar with the original, and Britten's arrangement. The next piece, Britten's Cantata misericordium, was completely new to me. I quite enjoyed it. The final piece in the first half, Britten's Sinfonia da Requiem, was the only piece familiar to me. I thought the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus did a good job.

To lose one named artist is unfortunate; to lose three is, well ... but Alan Oke, Leigh Melrose, and conductor Mark Wrigglesworth were decent stand-ins, and in the second half they were joined by Amanda Roocroft and Christine Rice. The single work was Britten's Spring Symphony. I wouldn't go so far as to say I disliked this, but it wasn't as engaging as the other pieces. I think perhaps although the thread - Spring - connecting the chosen poems was fair enough, the selection wasn't really all that cohesive, and Britten's orchestral writing was generally ambiguous rather than cheerful.


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