Hen harrier c Graham Catley, whose rather wonderful blog Pewit can be found here. Lachrymae: Reflections on a song of John Dowland op. While working on Billy Budd , Britten returned to his first instrument. This time he had not himself but the Scottish viola player William Primrose in mind, and Lachrymae was performed by Primrose and Britten at the Aldeburgh Festival in This time the subject is not Purcell, but the celebrated John Dowland song If my complaints could passions move , published in the First Booke of Songes or Ayres in

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Britten began learning the viola aged around 9 or 10 and composed a number of early pieces for it, including a sonata in In later life, however, the only piece that exists for solo viola is the beautiful Lachrymae where it is accompanied by piano.

The story goes that Britten promised Primrose a new piece, partly to persuade the player to perform at the Aldeburgh Festival, forgot all about it then composed it overnight following a telephone reminder from Primrose. Such haste is scarcely evident in this haunting and cleverly worked-out piece. As Josh Hayward outlines in the film, the piece is a series of variations with the theme delivered at the end, rather than being heard first.

As such, the variations hint at the main themes — an air by John Dowland — before it emerges in full. Britten used the same technique several years later in his Nocturnal for solo guitar, also based on a Dowland air.

The viola Josh is playing has its own story. In a short film introducing the series, Josh Hayward discusses how moving it is to play on the instrument that inspired both composers: the way in which this human connection can bring you closer to the creators, and to the music itself.

Lachrymae Presented by Josh Hayward. Explore more Bridge and Britten. Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge. Share with us using hashtag brittenpears "A hidden gem whether or not you are in to Benjamin Britten the exhibition and archive, his lovely house and gardens are a treasure trove.

Very family friendly too. We are excited to share that we have acquired the. Garden Manager Penny has been looking after the ga. For us or Britten, Pears or Imogen Holst we imagi. Here we have one of our favourite photos from the. We might not be able to enjoy them firsthand at th. We are pleased to confirm that on 31 March th. Our latest episode for 'From The Red House' podcas. Judith, one of our Archive team, wrote an article. Follow on Instagram. New posts will not be retrieved.

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19. Lachrymae

Marsh harrier c Graham Catley, whose rather wonderful blog Pewit can be found here. Lachrymae: Reflections on a song of John Dowland op. Both works are effectively Variations and a Theme, with the theme almost the last melody to appear in each case. In the last year of his life Britten orchestrated the piano part, so that the viola player Cecil Aronowitz could perform it as a concert piece with strings. Careful to ensure the solo viola retained the prominence it had in the original, he chose not to use any violins in the orchestra.


Dowland: Lachrymae & Britten: Lachrymae






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