Faber Music celebrates the centenary of its founder, Benjamin Britten

Faber Music celebrates the centenary of its founder, Benjamin Britten
Benjamin Britten was the founder of Faber Music, to whom he gave all his later works.  22 November 2013 marks the centenary of his birth and Faber Music, together with performers and boadcasters all round the world are marking the occasion.
 
New Britten publications:
 
‘I occasionally dream of Faber & Faber – music publishers!’ That remark, the last sentence of a letter written from Venice by Benjamin Britten to Donald Mitchell, proved the catalyst for Faber Music, which was to become the exclusive publisher of Britten’s works from 1964. Britten was determined that this publishing relationship should achieve two objectives. Firstly, his new publisher should offer the highest quality in its printing and design of Britten’s own scores and performance material, together with a tailored service that would facilitate the best promotion and dissemination of his music. Secondly, the company should build up its publication of music by younger contemporary composers, dealing with their work on the individual basis necessary to provide the quality of support that Britten knew they ideally needed. These are qualities which Faber Music continues to nurture to this day and, as Britten’s centenary approaches, we are pleased to honour these ideals with a series of new publications. These include a selection of previously unpublished early works, completed sketches and a new transcription.
 
This unpublished trio was written in late 1929, after Britten composed the Rhapsody for string quartet (March 1929). The new publication is edited by David Matthews, who spent three years as an assistant to Benjamin Britten at Aldeburgh in the late 1960’s.
 
6 Early Songs (1929-31)
(Witches’ Song, The Owl, Diaphenia, The Moth, Sport and Chamber Music)
Composed over roughly the same period as Tit for Tat (1928-31) the songs vary widely in style, from evocations of witches and owls to the bitonal accompaniment of The Moth.
 
Variations for piano (1965) - completed by Colin Matthews
The Variations for piano were written in 1965, but were left unfinished. They have now been completed by Colin Matthews, who also worked as an assistant to Benjamin Britten from 1972-6.
 
Three Suites for viola (op.72, 80 & 87) - transcribed for viola by Nobuko Imai
Britten’s Three Suites were originally composed for the cellist Rostropovich. This new transcription by violist Nobuko Imai, preserves the character of the originals, but shows the music in a different light.
 
Performances:
This year has seen a magnificent array of Britten 100 performances, and as the centenary day approaches (22nd November) things are reaching fever pitch. Here is just small flavour of performances happening on the day itself:
 
Suite on English Folk Tunes - Britten Sinfonia, West Road Concert Hall, Cambridge
Owen Wingrave - Mark Gibson / University of Cincinnati, Patricia Corbett Theatre, Cincinnati
An American Overture - Utah Symphony / Thierry Fischer, Abravanel Hall Salt Lake City, UT
Sacred and Profane - The Sixteen, Union Chapel, Islington, London
And ‘The Centenary Concert’ at Aldeburgh Music
 
Radio:
From Friday 22 - Sunday 24 November BBC Radio 3’s schedule will be taken over for a special Britten Centenary Weekend, featuring performances live from the Suffolk locations so closely associated with the composer and his music, including Snape Maltings Concert Hall, Aldeburgh, Lowestoft and Southwold.

Find out everything you need to know about the weekend.
Read an introduction to the celebrations
Explore the Discovering Britten Collection
Look at some fascinating galleries of Britten images

TV:
In Britten’s Endgame writer and filmmaker John Bridcut presents a highly moving documentary which explores Britten's creativity in the face of death. The programme aired on BBC 4 on 14 November and is available on iPlayer until 21 November.
 
Commemorative Coin:
The Royal Mint has commissioned a new 50p coin to mark the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten. The first time that a composer has been featured on a British coin, the Benjamin Britten 50p is scheduled for release into general circulation late in 2013, and is available now in commemorative gold proof, silver proof and brilliant uncirculated versions in readiness for Britten’s centenary celebrations on 22 November 2013.