In Britten's Footsteps

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In Britten's Footsteps

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Modificato: Nov 15, 2013, 6:51am

I just happened to catch this programme earlier today - recommended for anyone interested in music or nature. Chris Watson's cuts of Blackbird, Song Thursh, Nightingale and other British birds are wonderful! He's right in saying that there are very few places left in the UK that sound almost the same now in terms of bird song as they did only a few decades ago - this is one of them. Enjoy!

A few months ago I read Ronald Blythe's The Time by the Sea: Aldeburgh 1955-1958, which provides a lot more information on Britten and the fellow artists who lived in coastal Suffolk in the 1950s / 60s.

In Britten's Footsteps

To mark the centenary of Benjamin Britten's birth, wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson follows in the footsteps of the composer, presenting a soundscape based on the daily walks which Britten took around Aldeburgh to reflect on his morning's work. Benjamin Britten was born in Lowestoft in November 1913 and grew up on the coast of Suffolk. From his earliest years, the rhythm of the tides and the calls of redshank, curlew, and dunlin were the wild music which inspired much of his work. Suffolk was the place where he felt rooted and a sense of belonging and lived most of his life. Each day, after a morning spent composing, he would walk from his home, the Red House, either across the golf course, or through the woods, alongside the reed beds, or across the marshes reflecting on his morning's work accompanied and no doubt inspired by the atmosphere and sounds of the landscape around him; from the sigh of the reeds and the rhythm of the waves on the shingle beach to the haunting cries of curlew across the marshes or the exquisite songs of Nightingales in the woods.

Over the course of a year wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson retraced these walks, recording the seasonal sounds of the landscapes for a live performance commissioned by Aldeburgh Music. Using these and additional recordings, together with interviews with Rita Thompson, Britten's nurse companion, friend and writer Ronald Blythe, composer and biographer David Matthews and Director of Aldeburgh Music Jonathan Reekie, this immersive sound walk follows in the footsteps of the composer as Chris Watson discovers for himself the 'sense of place' which Britten felt so strongly here and which inspired so much of his music.

Presenter and wildlife sound recordist Chris Watson, Producer Sarah Blunt.