A Critic's Notebook: ASO to honor Benjamin Britten

Honoring Britten with Pärt


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  • NEW SHELL: The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of British composer Benjamin Britten with a performance of Arvo Pärt's "cantus in memory of benjamin britten" this weekend. Pictured above is the stainless steel sculpture "The Scallop" by artist Maggi Hambling, which is dedicated to Britten and stands near Aldeburgh in Suffolk, England. The inscription reads "I hear those voices that will not be drowned," a quote from Britten's opera "Peter Grimes."

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of British composer Benjamin Britten, and there are a host of events around the world to mark the occasion. Here in Atlanta, two weeks ago, tenor Nicholas Phan gave an amazing performance of Britten's work at Spivey Hall: especially notable was the abundant sense of narrative and intimacy in his singing of Britten's setting of poems from Thomas Hardy's "Winter Words."

This weekend the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra honors Britten by performing Estonian composer Arvo Pärt's beautifully haunting cantus in memory of benjamin britten, which no doubt will sound fantastic in the Symphony Hall's new acoustic shell. After the jump, a video of the piece being performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra:

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On the same program, acclaimed violinist Baiba Skride makes her ASO debut with Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. Guest conductor for the evening Thomas Søndergård, principal conductor of the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, will also be making his ASO debut, and the evening includes Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5. The performances are Thursday and Saturday, November 21 and 23. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the ASO.