Britten’s Friday Afternoons reborn in Centenary celebrations
17 September 2012
A highlight of next year’s Britten Centenary celebrations will be an Aldeburgh Music-sponsored nationwide singing project which aims to get 75,000 children in the UK to sing Britten’s music on 22 November 2013 – the exact centenary of his birth.
Composed between 1933 and 1935, Britten’s Friday Afternoons is a cycle of 12 songs composed by Britten for the school in Prestatyn, Wales, where his brother was headmaster. The composer’s nephew, Alan Britten, remarked: ‘You have to remember that in those days, my uncle was not the world famous musician we all known his as now, he was just the headmaster’s brother who was visiting.’ Featured recently in Wes Anderson’s film, Moonrise Kingdom, the music is easy to sing and is accompanied by witty piano parts.
Aldeburgh Music conceived the project to highlight Britten’s legacy of work for young people and to encourage more singing in schools – by coordinating with a network of venues, festivals, regional and national opera companies, and providing online resources for teachers through a dedicated website, the aim is to rekindle the spark of singing in schools across the country.