Past event: Zeitgeist: Britten Films

Benjamin Britten Night Mail
Benjamin Britten The Way To The Sea
Benjamin Britten Men Behind The Meters
Benjamin Britten The Tocher
Benjamin Britten Coal Face
Benjamin Britten The King’s Stamp
Benjamin Britten God’s Chillun
Benjamin Britten Peace of Britain
Benjamin Britten Sixpenny Telegram

Samuel West narrator
Nicholas Collon conductor
Finchley Children’s Music Group
Aurora Voices

Aurora presents a London premiere of Benjamin Britten’s complete existing documentary film scores, performed alongside the original films with narration from actor Samuel West.

With subjects ranging from postage stamps to pacifism, the abolition of the slave trade to the electrification of the London–Portsmouth railway, the films are wonderfully made and fascinating historical documents. Britten’s music brilliantly reflects, amplifies and underpins the screen images with scores of rich variety,  invention and no little wit. A celebration of composer’s craft, and film-maker’s technique,  and a remarkably vivid insight into 1930s Britain.

“The fuss caused by the Censor for not passing [Peace of Britain] is colossal., 1⁄2 centre pages of Herald & News Chronicle,  & Manchester Guardian – BBC news twice. Never has a film had such good publicity!”

(Britten recalls the initial refusal of the official censor to pass the pro-pacifist film Peace of Britain.)

This performance of the Britten GPO Films, first presented at the 2012 Aldeburgh Festival is supported by funds from the Arts Council England Britten Centenary Fund.

Concert end time: approx. 5.45pm

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