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The most famous of these are by John Dryden "A song for St. Spend morning hunting. Britten asked that Auden provide him a text for his ode to St Cecilia, and Auden complied, sending the poem in sections throughout , along with advice on how Britten could be a better artist. This was to be one of the last works they collaborated on. Perhaps he may have been said to have said goodbye to working with Wystan with his marvelous setting of the Hymn Anthem to St.
Cecilia in the United States, certainly in June when a performance by the newly formed Elizabethan Singers was projected to take place in New York sometime later that year. It was written at the same time as A Ceremony of Carols , which shares the same affect.
The piece is in three sections, plus three iterations of the refrain, with slight variations, following each section. The first section is very similar to the refrain, couched in the E Phrygian scale and with the same melody. The second section is a scherzo with a modified fugue form. The third section is more lyrical, with solos in each voice describing a different instrument, traditional in odes to St. The hymn was given its first radio performance in John Evans : p.
Hymn to St. New York; Boosey and Hawkes, Britten, Benjamin. Carpenter, Humphrey. Benjamin Britten, A Biography. New York: C. Scribner and Sons, Rosamond McGuiness, Tony Trowles. Macy accessed December 10, , grovemusic. Mitchell, Donald. Volume 2.
Benjamin Britten: "Hymn to St. Cecilia", Op.27 - An Analysis
Auden Publisher: Boosey and Hawkes Difficulty level: 4 This work had a long gestation as Britten had problems finding a suitable text. Auden was eventually asked and produced the poem in It is a nice coincidence that Britten was born on St. Cecilia is, of course, the Patron Saint of musicians who is supposed to have sung praises to God as she was being martyred. The story of her manner of death makes gruesome reading and the act of singing in extremis something of a miracle!
Auden written between and For a long time Britten wanted to write a piece dedicated to St Cecilia for a number of reasons. The most famous of these are by John Dryden "A song for St. Spend morning hunting. Britten asked that Auden provide him a text for his ode to St Cecilia, and Auden complied, sending the poem in sections throughout , along with advice on how Britten could be a better artist. This was to be one of the last works they collaborated on. Perhaps he may have been said to have said goodbye to working with Wystan with his marvelous setting of the Hymn Anthem to St.
Hymn to St. Cecilia
The superficial answer is that Britten wrote it during his journey home to England in , and the ocean is present in both the words and in the gently rocking motion of the music in the first section, bridging the geographical spread of our concert. If we dig a little deeper into the music and the poem, we find that the Hymn to St Cecilia also draws on the ideas of home and of love that run through everything we sing in this programme. He was returning home physically when he wrote it, albeit to an uncertain future, planning to register as a conscientious objector in wartime Britain, but he was also making a musical return to choral music after a gap of several years — as well as St Cecilia, he began working on the Ceremony of Carols during the voyage home too. Auden, although neither of them at the time knew that this would be their last joint work. Britten had actually begun writing Hymn to St Cecilia while he and his partner, Peter Pears were waiting for exit permits and a place on a ship, but the manuscript was confiscated by customs officials in New York who feared that it contained secret code. St Cecilia was a Roman martyr, and her association with music comes from the legend of her wedding night when she refused to surrender her virginity to her husband, and sat apart at the wedding feast, singing in her heart to God. The immediate connection with Britten, beyond her role as patron saint of music, is that he was born on her feast day, 22 November, but Auden draws out deeper parallels between the two in his poem.
BRITTEN HYMN TO ST CECILIA PDF
Performance note The patron saint of music, Cecilia, has been a source of inspiration to musicians for centuries. Annual festivals became immensely popular leaving a legacy of great works by Purcell, Handel and others. Observances were held also in Italy and Germany. In the nineteenth century, a Cecilian Movement dedicated to promoting a cappella singing in church started in Germany and spread throughout Europe. Historians now confirm that in fact Valerian and Tibertius were Christian martyrs, but that Cecilia may be just a mythical figure. Whether woman or myth, she has inspired the composition of many beautiful hymns and odes in her honour.