Everyday Rather Live in Classic Eras

The 100th anniversary of Benjamin Britten’s birth weekend

The 100th anniversary of Benjamin Britten’s birth on Friday will trigger a festival of his music across BBC Radio 3 this weekend. A feast of live concerts will to be broadcast from November 22-24. Friday’s principal event is a concert of Britten’sSpring SymphonyFour Sea InterludesCantata Academica, Carmen Basiliense that will be broadcast live from Snape Maltings and will feature soprano Claire Booth, mezzo Monica Groop, tenor Robert Murray and baritone Christopher Purves with the Norwich Cathedral Choristers, Norwich School Chamber Choir, BBC Symphony Chorus and Orchestra, and conducted by Oliver Knussen. The programme also includes a new work called Locke’s Theatre by Ryan Wigglesworth. This concert will be followed at 10pm by the first of three recitals of Britten’s and Shostakovich’s chamber music by the Belcea Quartet with pianist Katya Apekisheva. The second concert in this series – featuring Britten’s Third Quartet – will be at 10pm on Saturday, the third – including Britten’s First Quartet – at 11am on Sunday morning. Highlights of Saturday’s events include a live broadcast of Saint Nicholas from the church in which the piece premiered – Aldeburgh Parish Church – featuring Alan Oke with the Aldeburgh Voices, Jubilee Opera Chorus and Suffolk Ensemble conducted by Ben Parry. This acts as a prelude to a live broadcast of Albert Herring from the Barbican in London with a cast including Christine Brewer as Lady Billows, Andrew Staples as Albert, Roderick Williams as Mr Gedge and Catherine Wyn-Rogers as Mrs Herring. The BBC Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Steuart Bedford. A very full schedule of events on Sunday (including a special edition of Private Passions presented by Michael Berkeley featuring the artist Maggi Hambling, whose scallop-shell tribute to Britten resides on Aldeburgh Beach) culminates in what should prove to be a very moving performance of Noye’s Fludde which will be broadcast live from Britten’s hometown, Lowestoft, and will feature soloists Andrew Shore, Dame Felicity Palmer and Zeb Soames, the Navarra Quartet and children from local schools and choirs, conducted by Britten’s biographer Paul Kildea.