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Double Concerto for Violin, Viola and Piano

By Benjamin Britten

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Score and Parts Piano; Viola; Violin
Composed by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976). Music Sales America. Classical. Softcover. Composed 2010. 96 pages. Chester Music #CH76483. Published by Chester Music (HL.14037765).

Item Number: HL.14037765

ISBN 9781849386180. 9.0x12.0x0.594 inches.

For Violin, Viola and Piano (Reduced from the orchestra version). Britten was so remarkably prolific as a young composer that many of the works from his teens were put aside to await revision or completion as he rushed on tothe next piece. This was particularly the case around the time of his Opus 1 Sinfonietta, composed in the summer of 1932, his second year as a student at the Royal College Of Music.

The Sinfonietta waswritten (in less than three weeks) very soon after Britten had completed the first draft of the Double Concerto; but after finishing the Sinfonietta he went back to revise the Concerto's second movement. He started workon his Op.2 Phantasy for Oboe and String Trio a few weeks later.

Although the Concerto follows the same three-movement pattern as the Sinfonietta, it is more ambitious in scale; and since the sketchis, unusually for Britten, complete in practically every detail, it is puzzling that he never made a full score of the work after finishing the composition, and seems to have made no attempt to get it performed. It is not clear ifhe had particular performers in mind (he was, of course, a Viola player, although he is not likely to have intended the part for himself). He showed the work to his composition teacher at the college, John Ireland, who, as Brittenrecorded in his diary, was 'pretty pleased' with it; but it is distinctly possible that his experience in rehearsing the Sinfonietta with a student orchestra in 1932 ('I have never heard such an appalling row!' readsanother diary entry) discouraged him from going on to complete the Double Concerto in score. He was not to hear any of his orchestral works until the first performance of Our Hunting Fathers in 1936.

In theabsence of Britten's full score it was necessary for me to prepare the work from the sketch. But the instrumentation is so carefully indicated in the draft that the resulting score is not far from being 100% Britten - only between.

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