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Benjamin Britten:
The Instruments of the Orchestra - Part 1


Benjamin Britten was asked to compose music for a film that explained the instruments of the orchestra to children. Britten borrowed a tune by one of his favorite composers, Henry Purcell, to create his Young Personís Guide to the Orchestra. This show uses Britten's Guide to introduce the instruments of the woodwind and string families.

Music heard in this episode:
Britten: The Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra

Other shows about Benjamin Britten:
About Benjamin Britten
The Simple Symphony
Pizzicato and Other Musical Terms
The Instruments of the Orchestra - Part 2

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About Benjamin Britten
11/22/1913 - 12/4/1976
Born in Great Britain

Benjamin Britten was an expert in three different musical fields -- conducting, composing and playing the piano. Britten was born in Lowestoft, a town on the English seacoast. (His birthday, November 22nd, happens to be the saint day of the patron saint of music, St. Cecilia.) Benjamin's father was a dentist; his mother loved to sing, and regularly held concerts in their home.

From the moment he started playing the piano, Britten knew he wanted to earn his living as a composer. His first paying job was writing music for films.

Britten was a pacifist -- he didn't believe in fighting wars. So when it became obvious that England would go to war with Germany in 1939, Britten left for America. But it was impossible to take the "Brit" out of Britten. In the middle of World War II, he sailed back to his native country.

When the war was over, the biggest opera company in England held a gala reopening, and commissioned Britten to write a new opera for the occasion. Britten was also asked to compose an opera when Elizabeth II was crowned Queen of England.

See other composers born in Great Britain

 

This Week's Quiz:

1. Which is not an instrument family?

Percussion

Brass

Woodwinds

Piano Trio

Strings


2.What is the lowest sounding woodwind intrument?

Flute

Oboe

Bassoon

Clarinet

Piccolo


3. What string instrument is not played with a bow?

Viola

Harp

Cello

Violin

Double Bass



 

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