We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy. Learn more here. x

Perfection, of a kind: Britten v Auden

Sunday November 5, 2023 at 18:00
Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, London
£40, £26, £12 +£3.50 booking fee
Book Online
No tickets "at the door"
  1. Simple Symphony, for string ensemble - Benjamin Britten
  2. Music for the play 'The Ascent of F6' - Benjamin Britten
    • Cabaret Jazz Song
    • Funeral Blues (Stop all the clocks)
  3. Night Mail - Benjamin Britten
  4. Sinfonietta Op 1 - Benjamin Britten

City of London Sinfonia and the London Review of Books present an evening of musical-literary collisions, inspired by a meeting (and parting) of minds like no other.

The association between Benjamin Britten and WH Auden began in the mid-1930s, when they worked together on short documentaries for the GPO Film Unit and plays for the Group Theatre, a largely forgotten experimental troupe whose collaborators also included Christopher Isherwood, Louis MacNeice and Henry Moore. Initially overawed by Auden’s precocious gifts, Britten eventually emerged from this apprenticeship with a genius so singular and single-minded that Auden never quite forgave him. Perhaps because of this, the debt owed by Britten’s early masterpieces to the lessons of their partnership has been underappreciated, over the years.

This programme traces the full arc of their creative relationship, from the incidental music and cabaret songs Britten composed for Auden’s 1936 play, The Ascent of F6, through to the imagined meeting between an elderly ‘Bengy’ and ‘Wystan’ in The Habit of Art by Alan Bennett – via Britten’s Simple Symphony and Auden’s excoriating and prophetic break-up letter.

Drawing also on writing by Bennett and Frank Kermode from the LRB archive, the evening culminates in a rare performance of Britten and Auden’s most famous collaborative work, Night Mail. Marking 50 years since Auden’s death and 110 years since Britten’s birth, this first instalment of a new partnership between City of London Sinfonia and the London Review of Books revives and reinterrogates the tempestuous lifelong marriage between music and text.

Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre
South Bank

This advertisement was submitted by City of London Sinfonia.
Print or Save this concert's QR code

Disclaimer: We endeavour to supply full and accurate information but cannot be held responsible for any errors.
Please check with the ticket vendor before you purchase your ticket. PLEASE REPORT BAD CONTENT

©2023 Concert Diary. The interactive Concert Guide specialising in listings for Opera, Ballet and Classical Music Concerts.