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Roger Vignoles, musical direction and piano; William Towers, countertenor; Ben Johnson, tenor; Duncan Rock, baritone; Camille Levecque, harp and Fernando Puig Parra, horn

Late Britten

Benjamin Britten: Canticles

4/18/2018 - 4/25/2018

Benjamin Britten composed his five Canticles between 1947 and 1974. Halfway between sacred hymns and a song cycle, they represent one of the composer’s most enigmatic and original creations. Based on a seventeenth-century poem that, in turn, was inspired by the Song of Songs, the first canticle pays homage to the music of Henry Purcell. The second is based on one of the (sixteenth century) Chester Mystery Plays and tells the story of Abraham and Isaac. The last three are based on contemporary texts by Edith Sitwell (Canticle III) and T. S. Eliot (Canticles IV and V). Specifically, the third describes the German bombing of London in 1940, the fourth imagines the trip the Three Wise Men made to Bethlehem and, finally, the fifth narrates the death of Saint Narcissus of Jerusalem.

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