This summer gives not one but two chances to see world premieres of works by Benjamin Britten in his centenary year.
The first takes place in Birmingham Town Hall on June 21 where the Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lionel Friend will perform Chaos and Cosmos, a work composed by Britten at the tender age of 13 as a gift for his parent’s 26th wedding anniversary. Describing the work as ‘extremely original’, Dr Lucy Walker, director of Learning and Development at the Britten-Pears Foundation comments that it ‘gives a strong foretaste of the young Britten's adventurous spirit’.
The premiere forms part of Birmingham Conservatoire’s ‘Delius and Ireland: A Celebration’ festival, running from June 17 to 21, including performances of Seadrift by Delius and John Ireland’s complete solo piano works.
The Conservatoire students have also recorded Chaos and Cosmos for the Britten Thematic Catalogue ahead of its premiere. You can hear several extracts from the recording on the Britten-Pears Foundation website and the opening on the Gramophone Player below.
The second Britten premiere takes place during a Proms Saturday Matinee on August 31 at London’s Cadogan Hall. Marking their Prom’s debut, Swedish chamber orchestra Camerata Nordica will perform the world premiere of Britten’s early Elegy for Strings alongside more familiar pieces, including Britten’s Simple Symphony and works by both Walton and Tippett.
Hear the opening of Britten's Chaos and Cosmos recorded by the Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra on the Gramophone Player below: