Welcome Ode


by Benjamin Britten

Young people's chorus (SAB) and orchestra
Chorus with Orchestra/Large Ensemble
17th & 18th Century Lyrics
2.2(II=ad lib).2.2(II=ad lib) – 4(III+IV=ad lib).2.3(III=ad lib).1(=ad lib) – timp(=SD ad lib) – perc(3): BD/SD/cyms/susp.cym/tgl/tamb/xyl – pno – strings – SAB chorus
Other Contributors
Full score prepared by Colin Matthews under the composer's supervision

Written for the occasion of Her Majesty the Queen's Silver Jubilee visit to Ipswich

First Performance
11.7.77, Corn Exchange, Ipswich: Suffolk Schools' Choir and Orchestra/Keith Shaw

Full score 0-571-51102-3, vocal score 0-571-52526-1 on sale, parts for hire

Programme Notes

PROGRAMME NOTE Welcome Ode for young people’s chorus and orchestra, Op. 95, is Britten’s last completed work. It was written for the occasion of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee visit to Ipswich on 11 July 1977, and was first performed on that day by the Suffolk Schools’ Choir and Orchestra. It belongs to a tradition best represented by Henry Purcell who, as court composer to Charles II, James II and Queen Mary, wrote more than twenty Welcome Songs and Birthday Odes for every kind of royal occasion. Purcell’s texts were enthusiastic rather than inspired. The poems of Welcome Ode (by Dekker and Ford, 1624; by the unknown author of ‘The Maid’s Metamorphosis’, 1600; and by Henry Fielding, 1737), though not from Purcell’s lifetime, are very much in the same spirit. The Ode has five short movements – March, Jig, Roundel, Modulation, and Canon. Jig and Modulation are for orchestra alone. The opening March is a picture of a holiday pageant and the finale an infectiously boisterous canon. The central (and largest) movement is a round dance: a gentle, lyrical interlude in the middle of this happy and spirited work. Colin Matthews

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