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Britten, Benjamin: Rossini Suite (1935) 12'
Five movements from Rossini, for chamber ensemble

Scoring

boys' voices (wordless)-1(=picc).1.1.0-0.0.0.0-perc:SD/BD/cym/tgl/ xyl/glsp/wdbl/cast-pft

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This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

Repertoire Note

Choral level of difficulty: Level 1 (5 greatest)

This is essentially a chamber ensemble work with a wordless boys’ chorus adding another element to the scoring. I quote Paul Banks’ Britten Catalogue as to the background of the work:
‘These arrangements were made in connection with Lotte Reiniger’s short animated silhouette film The Tocher (GPO Film Unit, 1935), but in the event only music from nos 1, 2 and 5 was used on the soundtrack (conducted by Britten). In 1936 nos 1, 2 and 4 were rescored and with two new arrangements formed Soirées musicales, op.9. In 1941 no.3 was reworked as the opening march of Matinées musicales.’

The boys’ voices are used in two movements only. In the second they sing a beautifully lyrical wordless melody to an ‘ah’ vowel or as a hum. In the fifth and final movement they sing a madrigalian ‘tra la la’ in an Allegro con brio which is irresistibly lively and ends with a shout!

Repertoire note by Paul Spicer



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