There are currently no items in your cart.
Ballad of Heroes, Op. 14 ((1939) Vocal Score). Composed by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976). For Choral, Chorus, Orchestra, Piano (SATB). BH Large Choral. 38 pages. Boosey & Hawkes #M060013935. Published by Boosey & Hawkes (HL.48008877).
for tenor (or soprano) solo, chorus and orchestra
Scoring: 3 (II=picc), 2, ca (=obIII), 2 , cl in Eb, 2, dbl bn (=bnIII); 4, 2, 3, 1; timps, 2 perc (xyl, sd, td, bd, whip, cymb); harp, strings; OFFSTAGE: 3 trumpets in C; sd (optional instruments are ca, dbl bn, offstage tpts and sd). Britten asks for the offstage instruments to be in a gallery or 'isolated position', and later to be out of sight.
Text: W H Auden and Randall Swingler
Publisher: Boosey & Hawkes
Difficulty level: 3 (for chorus)
This highly dramatic and rarely performed work was written for a Festival of Music for the People and first performed on 5 April 1939 at the Queen's Hall, London, conducted by Constant Lambert. It is another of Britten's passionate outbursts against the waste and horror of war which had already engulfed Europe once earlier in the century and was about to do so for the second time. The declaration of war was made on 3 September that year. His choice of texts is highly significant. He had collaborated with Randall Swingler as recently as the previous year on his short unaccompanied choral work Advance Democracy - another politically motivated piece (see separate entry). Both Swingler and Auden were aiming in their poems to goad the downtrodden Englishman into standing up and fully living the life of freedom for which their forebears fought and lost their lives. Swingler's lines which say: 'You who lean at the corner and say “We have done our best”, ...To you we speak, you numberless Englishmen, To remind you of the greatness still among you...Your life is yours, for which they died'. sum up the essence of the message of the piece.
The work is in three continuous movements. First comes a Funeral March (to Swingler's poem part-quoted above), then a manic Scherzo, a Dance of Death to a rum-te-tum verse by Auden which only increases its sense of the macabre. Finally comes a slow and powerful recitative and chorale and a slow Epilogue in which the funeral march music from the opening returns.
Virtually the whole of the first section of the opening movement is in unison for the chorus. The slow tread of the funeral march is given an added solemnity by this unison singing. The first ten bars are recited on a low C, the next eight bars an octave higher, and after this there is a mixture of simple harmony (more to avoid high notes for low voices) and further unison singing for the rest of the movement. The Scherzo is interesting in setting out the first three vocal parts in a kind of fugal progress. The tenors have the first complete statement in the home key (G minor), the altos are next in the dominant but by themselves, the sopranos are next in line and back in the tonic - again by themselves, and finally the basses have the subject but this time as the basis of a canon at the unison between them and the altos (in a truncated version).
- Funeral March
- Scherzo (Dance of Death)
- Recitative and Choral
Ballad of Heroes, Op. 14
(1939) Vocal Score
- Explain exactly why you liked or disliked the product. Do you like the artist? Is the transcription accurate? Is it a good teaching tool?
- Consider writing about your experience and musical tastes. Are you a beginner who started playing last month? Do you usually like this style of music?
- Feel free to recommend similar pieces if you liked this piece, or alternatives if you didn't.
- Be respectful of artists, readers, and your fellow reviewers. Please do not use inappropriate language, including profanity, vulgarity, or obscenity.
- Avoid disclosing contact information (email addresses, phone numbers, etc.), or including URLs, time-sensitive material or alternative ordering information.
- We cannot post your review if it violates these guidelines. If you have any suggestions or comments on the guidelines, please email us.
- All submitted reviews become the licensed property of Sheet Music Plus and are subject to all laws pertaining thereto. If you believe that any review contained on our site infringes upon your copyright, please email us.
Ballad of Heroes, Op. 14
(1939) Vocal Score
Tell a friend (or remind yourself) about this product. We'll instantly send an email containing product info and a link to it. You may also enter a personal message.
We do not use or store email addresses from this form for any other purpose than sending your share email.
Now you can also view your purchased titles on your iPad with our
free Sheet Music Plus Digital Print Viewer app.
With Digital Print, you can print from your computer immediately after purchase, or wait until its convenient. And our software installation is easy - we'll guide you through the simple steps to make sure you have Adobe Flash Player, Adobe AIR and the Sheet Music Plus AIR application on your computer.
See all System Requirements for Digital Print
Note: Our Digital Print items are purchased solely through our website. By purchasing a Digital Print item, you are authorized by the publisher to print out the purchased number of copies for that particular title. Thus, we are unable to fax, mail or email digital titles in any form or file format (including PDF) as it violates copyright law.
Google Chrome Users: The most recent Google Chrome update is not compatible with Adobe AIR. We recommend using an alternate browser (such as Internet Explorer, Safari, or Firefox) in order to download Adobe AIR and print your music.
Digital Print - Available Instantly!
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More by this Composer: Benjamin Britten Sheet Music Benjamin Britten Voice Sheet Music Benjamin Britten Choir Sheet Music Benjamin Britten Piano Accompaniment Sheet Music Benjamin Britten 4-Part Sheet Music Benjamin Britten Orchestra Sheet Music Benjamin Britten SATB Sheet Music
Genre: 20th Century Sheet Music
Format: Vocal Score