Britten & Poulenc: An Anniversary Year


In celebration of the 100th anniversary of Benjamin Britten's birth and the 50th anniversary of Francis Poulenc's death, a series of concerts featuring the composers' music took place in 2013 under the direction of Stephen Layton, together with a number of choirs and orchestras.

An early start saw Polyphony at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam in a performance of Britten's A.M.D.G. and Hymn to St Cecilia (10 November 2012); Britten's A Boy was Born, in Aldeburgh (8 December 2012), followed by the Holst Singers with programmes of music by Britten and Poulenc in St George's Cathedral (RC), Southwark (2 March 2013), the Stroud Subscription Rooms, (9 March 2013).



The City of London Sinfonia (CLS) performed concerts of music by Poulenc as part of their Poulenc Festival: 'Poulenc in Paris' - a CLoSer event - in the Village Underground at Shoreditch (10 April 2013) and 'Paradise & Purgatory' at Southwark Cathedral (11 April 2013).  In The Cathedrals Tour, Poulenc's Organ Concerto was performed in 10 cathedrals in major cities across England.

In June, the Holst Singers presented Poulenc's Un Soir de Neige at the Temple Church in London (26 June 2013).

Three concert programmes followed in July as part of the Cheltenham Music Festival 2013, including Poulenc's Gloria with The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, the Holst Singers & the City of London Sinfonia in Gloucester Cathedral (13 July 2013); Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb with The Choir of Trinity College Cambridge at Cheltenham College Chapel (14 July 2013); Britten's Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings with the City of London Sinfonia at the Cheltenham Festival Finale (14 July 2013).

Concerts in the latter half of the year included Pärt's Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, performed by Polyphony and the Philharmonia Orchestra at The Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester Cathedral (30 July 2013); Poulenc's Figure Humaine and Britten's Hymn to St Cecila, with the Latvian State Choir for the 16th International Sacred Music Festival in Riga, Latvia (24 August 2013); Eric Eriscons Kammarkör, guest directed by Stephen Layton, in Stockholm performed several pieces by both composers including Britten's A.M.D.G. and Poulenc's Mass in G (6 November 2013); Britten's Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge with the City of London Sinfonia at St John's Smith Square (13 November 2013); Britten's A Boy was Born with the MDR Choir in Leipzig (14 December 2013).












Latvian State Choir - Poulenc: Figure Humaine                                      Latvian State Choir - Britten: Hymn to St Cecilia

 16th International Music Festival, Riga - August 2013                                                    16th International Music Festival, Riga - August 2013