A Boy Was Born op. 3 by : Benjamin Britten
Choral Variations for unaccompanied* SATB with boys' voices
Texts:Theme A Boy was Born Anon. 16th century
Variation 1 Lullay; Jesu Anon. before 1536
Variation 2 Herod Anon. before 1529
Variation 3 Jesu; as Thou art our saviour Anon. 15th Century
Variation 4 The Three Kings Anon. 15th Century
Variation 5 In the bleak mid-winter Christina Rossetti
Lully; lulley; lully; lulley Anon. before 1536
Variation 6 (Finale) Noel!; Welcome Yule Anon. 15th century
Christmas Thomas Tusser A Christmas Carol Francis Quarles
Publisher: Chester Music
Difficulty level: 5
*an organ part was created by Ralph Downes in 1957-58 which should only be used in extremis.
The extent of Britten's early genius can; to some extent; be measured by thiswork. Written while a student at the Royal College of Music aged only 19 itdemonstrates the most precocious creative gifts. A rock-solid technique is evident; but also the ability to develop ideas over a large span of time (this is a major work) and; while testing even the best of choirs to its limits; Britten nevertheless always writes within the grasp of what is possible; and not only possible but supremely effective. Each movement contributes to the developing relationship with the initial theme; while also sitting perfectly within the sense of an unfolding 'Suite' of movements. The conductor needs to realise the tempo relationships and the contrasts of mood; pace and dynamics; and judge the scale of each movement in relation to the others.
One of the issues with this work is that it requires a boys' choir in addition to the main choir. This; of course; can also be a girls' or even a mixed group of upper voices. It does have to be a separate group; however; and in some performances they also have their own conductor; but they should not be placed at a distance due to the intricacy of their part in relation to the whole.
A Boy was Born is one of the most excitingly satisfying of Britten's choral works. While it should not be undertaken by any but the most ambitious amateur choirs; its challenges are certainly surmountable with a good run of rehearsals.
. . . . Sample Audio & etc. . . .
A Boy was Born (performance excerpt)
On the recording
| Format ||SATB and Organ|
| Length x Width x Height||11 x 8.5 x 0.265 inches |
| Shipping Weight||0.70 pounds |
|East Coast Music Product Code ||ZHL14037801|
| ISBN ||1849386382|
| EAN ||9781849386388|
| 1st Publication Date||02/2012|
Below are Related Products that you may be interested in.