🎻♫♪ – The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra by Benjamin Britten

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
 39/501Title: The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
Composer: Benjamin Britten
Nationality: British

I have previously spoken about my love of Wes Anderson and how Moonrise Kingdom features highly on my list of favourite movies. I mention this as The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra both inspired elements of the Moonrise Kingdom soundtrack as well as appearing on it (or at least parts of it did).

Whilst I don’t know too much about the 1001 Classical Recordings list, I cannot imagine there being another piece like this for me to listen to. For starters, the basis of The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra is another classical piece (an incidental piece from a 17th century play) that is repeated a number of times – each time by a different section of the orchestra.

The idea of this piece it to educate people (or specifically children) about the different instruments that appear within the orchestra. Depending on the version you listen to, each section is narrated at the beginning with the name of the instruments – with the opening and ending featuring the entire orchestra.

What makes The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra all the more interesting is how well it illustrates how a full orchestral piece not only splits into multiple parts, but also how these parts have their own nuances. I know it should be obvious, but the idea that each group plays something different in order to create a cohesive whole… well it makes the whole composition all the more impressive.

Having done the final set of motets so recently before listening to this, the contrast is incredible. I look forward to the point where I am done with the older church music.


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