Benjamin Britten: Britten to America

Unexpected postscript to the composer’s centenary shows his versatility and completes the picture of his formative years

This collection of previously unrecorded radio and theatre music makes an unexpected postscript to the Britten centenary. Written for radio broadcasts and theatre before and after his departure for the US in 1939, it includes extrovert scores for two pre-war Auden/Isherwood plays and music for a wartime radio propaganda programme entitled An American in England.

This is minor and often unrecognisable Britten, with bits of blues, a Bach chorale, even a “Tibetan” chant, but it illustrates his resourcefulness and versatility, and helps complete the picture of his formative years.

Benjamin Britten

Britten to America

Hallé Orchestra, Ex Cathedra, Huw Watkins, Samuel West

(NMC)

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

More on this topic

Suggestions below based on CD & DVD Reviews

Boxed In: Melt — review

Band leader Oli Bayston sings in a lugubrious singsong amid an inventive mix of sounds built around strong rhythms

Warpaint Heads Up — review

The band’s hypnotic brand of post-punk with enigmatic strings and Portishead-style dub effects still shows in their third album