A Britten Serenade

Conductor – Costa Simpson

Tenor – Sid Chand

Horn – Alex Morton

Organ – David Burchell

Chroma Chamber Choir

NCMA Chamber Orchestra


Join conductor Costa Simpson, Chroma Chamber Choir and the NCMA Chamber Orchestra in a celebration of one of the most significant British composers of the 20th century – Benjamin Britten. Born in 1913, Britten was a prolific composer of opera, orchestral music, chamber music, and vocal music. His works were deeply rooted in the English musical tradition while also incorporating modernist techniques.

The programme begins with the Choral Dances from Gloriana, Britten’s opera written in 1953 for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The Choral Dances are a set of six movements that showcase Britten’s skill in writing choral music. The dances are full of energy, rhythmic vitality, and captivating melodies. 

The Rejoice in the Lamb cantata written in 1943 sets a poem by Christopher Smart, which describes the divine nature of all creation, from the smallest insect to the highest angel. Britten’s music is full of whimsy, humor, and exuberance, making it a joy to listen to. The piece features choir, soloists, and organ, played here by renowned Dunedin-based organist David Burchell.

The Serenade for Tenor, Horn, and Strings follows, written during the dark days of war in 1943. It is a setting of six poems by different poets, ranging from Shakespeare to Blake. Britten explores a range of emotions, from the tender and romantic to the dark and haunting. The piece features tenor soloist Sid Chand, horn player Alex Morton, and the NCMA Chamber Orchestra, and it is a remarkable showcase for the performers’ virtuosity.

Finally, we end the program with the Simple Symphony, composed in 1934 when Britten was just 20 years old. The work is a nostalgic tribute to Britten’s childhood and is based on themes he wrote as a child. The symphony is playful, charming, and full of youthful energy. It is written for a string orchestra and is divided into four movements, each of which reflects a different aspect of childhood.

Join us as we celebrate the music of one of Britain’s most significant composers, Benjamin Britten. From the whimsical Choral Dances to the haunting Serenade and the nostalgic Simple Symphony, this colourful programme promises to delight and entertain.

June 10
7:30 pm
Nelson Centre of Musical Arts

$15 – $30

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Costa Simpson


Nelson Centre of Musical Arts

48 Nile St
Nelson, 7010 New Zealand

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