The Friday Afternoons project returns to Aldeburgh

James McCarthy Thu 15th May 2014

Featuring newly commissioned works from Sally Beamish, Rachel Portman and Nico Muhly

Children from last year's Friday Afternoons (photo by Anna McCarthy)

Children from last year's Friday Afternoons (photo by Anna McCarthy)

Perhaps the most successful of all of the Britten-themed celebrations last year was the Friday Afternoons project. Designed to encourage singing participation in schools, last year's project involved 67,000 pupils and was nominated for the 2014 RPS Award for Learning and Participation.

This year the project returns with commissions of songs for voice and piano based on folk tunes by composers including Nico Muhly, John Woolrich, Jason Yarde, Sally Beamish, Jon Boden, Talvin Singh, Gwyneth Herbert and The Unthanks.  

Gramophone's Martin Cullingford reported on last year's project and concluded: 'Of all that this impressive Centenary weekend offered, Britten may well have taken most pride in events such as Friday Afternoons, assured that his legacy lies not just in the libraries of scores owned by international ensembles, ready to be pulled down and performed by professionals, but here, among young musicians, to inspire them, and so to inspire us all.'

The Friday Afternoons project was inspired by Britten's own folksong arrangements, two of which ('The Ash Grove' and 'Oliver Cromwell') will be included alongside the new commissions this year. Further information about the Friday Afternoons project is available from fridayafternoonsmusic.co.uk.

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