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Benjamin Britten:
The Simple Symphony

Benjamin Britten composed his Simple Symphony when he was twenty, but he based it on music that he'd written much earlier -- some of it when he was only 10! The “Simple Symphony” has four movements, each of which has a very catchy name: Boisterous Bouree, Playful Pizzicato, Sentimental Sarabande, and Frolicsome Finale.

Music heard in this episode:
Britten: Simple Symphony: Boisterous Bouree
Britten: Simple Symphony: Playful Pizzicato
Bach: Violin Partita #3: Gavotte
Britten: Simple Symphony: Sentimental Serenade
Falla: Simple Symphony: Frolicsome Finale

Other shows about Benjamin Britten:
About Benjamin Britten
Pizzicato and Other Musical Terms
The Instruments of the Orchestra - Part 1
The Instruments of the Orchestra - Part 2

Download this month's activity sheet

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. Britten wrote The Simple Symphony for what ensembles?


Choral Groups

Jazz Bands

School Orchestras

Marching Bands

2.What is a Bouree?

A Dance

A Brass Instrument

A Book

A French Song

A Dish

3. What does Pizzicato mean?







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