Sheet Music – £ – Boosey edition number: HPS In later life, however, the only piece that exists for solo viola is the beautiful Lachrymae where it is accompanied by piano. It was composed for the Scottish violist. Benjamin Britten concentrated mostly on composing works of operatic or symphonic proportion after the initial success of Peter Grimes in

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Inwhile Benjamin Britten was on tour in the United States, he met the lacrhymae viola virtuoso William Primrosewho agreed to come to the edition of Britten ‘s own Aldeburgh Festival, which, after two successful editions in andwas already established as one of England’s major summer musical events.

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As the Festival approached, Britten composed this major set of variations on a theme by late Renaissance English composer John Dowland for Primrose”to reward him for coming to the Festival.

Dowland – was one of the great composers of lute songs. Although contemporary accounts show that socially he was engaging and positive in mood and outlook, his music is known for its sadness, particularly for sadness at rejection or inconstancy by a lovely lady. Britten ‘s title for this composition reflects the general classical listening audience’s image of Dowland by its title, which means “Tears.


Among musicians, however, Dowland has been particularly admired for his subtle command of harmony. It is this aspect of the work with which Britten primarily concerns himself in constructing this set of ten variations. The work begins to quote the song “If my complaints could passion move” in a mood-setting slow introduction, with Dowland’s melody in the low part of the accompaniment.

Lachrymae, reflections on a song… | Details | AllMusic

However, Dowland’s original theme breaks off at the end of its first part, as the harmonies of the song begin to generate Britten ‘s variations. Fragments of the melody are also heard, though Britten ‘s concern with the harmonies leads brtiten recreate something like Dowland’s sensitivity to harmonic progression and devices in twentieth-century terms.

The first five variations are marked Allegretto, andante molto; Animato; Tranquillo; Allegro con moto; and Largamente. Britten ‘s variations throughout the piece tend to be concise: In the sixth variation, marked Appassionato, Britten quotes another well-known Dowland song, “Flow my Tears. For the final variation, Britten remains in Lento tempo and, in an expansive ending, quotes the entire Dowland song from beginning to end, for the first time in this composition, with Dowland’s original harmonies, although spaced differently for piano and viola.

Lachrymae, reflections on a song of Dowland, for viola & piano, Op. 48

In the last year of his life Brittenthough seriously ill, kept a promise made to Cecil Aronowitzthe long-time violist of the English Chamber Orchestra and close friend, and wrote a version of Lachrymae with an outstanding arrangement for string orchestra accompaniment. Lschrymae either version, Lachrymae is one of the outstanding viola compositions of Britten ‘s century. AllMusic relies heavily on JavaScript. Please enable JavaScript in your browser to use the site fully.

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Britten Lachrymae, Op. 48 Program Notes | MATTHEW LIPMAN

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Classical Collection Master Series, Vol. Works for Viola and Piano. Music for the Viola.

The Art of the Viola. Romances and Elegies for Viola and Piano.

Viola sonata in F; Britten: Viola Sonata in C Op; Britten: Toward the Sea III.