John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

Simple Symphony

The Simple Symphony, Op. 4, is beautiful and worth a listen.

 It was written Benjamin Britten between December 1933 and February 1934 using bits of score that the composer had written for the piano as a teenager, between 1923 and 1926. It was composed for string orchestra and received its first performance in 1934, with Britten conducting an amateur orchestra. He was twenty years old at the time.

It has four movements:

I. Boisterous Bourrée 3'
Themes Used
– Suite No. 1 in E for piano (18 October 1925), second movement (Bourrée: Allegro vivace) – Song (Song) (1923) A Country Dance ('Now the King is home again'), text from Tennyson's The Foresters, for voice and piano.

II. Playful Pizzicato 3'
Themes Used
– Scherzo (piano) (1924) Sonata for Piano in B flat major, op. 5, Scherzo and Trio (Molto vivace) – Song (1924) The Road Song of the "Bandar-Log" ('Here we go in a flung festoon', text by Rudyard Kipling), for voice and piano.

III. Sentimental Sarabande 9'
Themes Used
– Suite No. 3 (for piano) (1925) Suite No. 3, in F minor, for piano, op. 25, Prelude (Allegro di molto) Waltz for piano (1923) [Waltz in B major for piano], (Tempo di valse)

IV. Frolicsome Finale 3'15"
Themes Used
– Piano Sonata No. 9 (1926) Piano Sonata No. 9, in C minor, op. 38, Finale Song (1925)
Eight main themes appear in the symphony, with two movements, the most famous is the pizzicato. The entire pieces last about 20 minutes. The second movement is popular with mandolin players as it is pizzicato.


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