2013 is the centenary of Benjamin Britten, the composer, conductor and pianist who once lived and worked in Aldeburgh. To celebrate Britten’s talent, Aldeburgh Music brings together the old and the new in their Faster Than Sound series that ‘joins the dots between musical genres and digital art forms’. In Britten’s footsteps which was performed on February the 1st brought to the audience the natural sounds of Aldeburgh and Britten’s cello music most probably inspired by these sounds. The sound work was done by the renowned BBC wildlife programmes sound producer Chris Watson who retraced Britten’s most beloved paths and recorded the sounds surrounding these environments over the period of one year. At the performance these sounds were played back on an ambisonic sound system while Britten’s cello music was performed live by Oliver Coates.
Faster Than Sound programme supported by Art Council England and Paul Hamlyn Foundation has resulted in multiple innovative projects and their website promises more to come in the near future. While In Britten’s Footsteps is not on artplayer yet, there is a chance to have a look at another Faster Than Sound event – Game. Classical orchestra side by side… electronic toys! How do the musicians cope with the invasion of dolls and cars? Quite brilliantly, this is the stuff of twenty first century at its freshest. The high production values of the coverage of Game forbid me to say any more, this one has to be seen (and listened to):
Aldeburgh Music have not, of course, turned their back to traditions. Blissful extracts performed by the Concertgebouw Orchestra and astonishing views of Suffolk landscape that Benjamin Britten once was so inspired by can take you on a journey completely different from Game – an epic, timeless dream of grand narratives and great art.
Aldeburgh Music have set up a whole new website for Benjamin Britten where you can learn more abut the great composer and keep up to date with events surrounding Britten’s centenary: http://www.brittenaldeburgh.co.uk/
Text by Kati Jagel