The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra

Work Name: The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
Original Instrumentation Form: Orchestral Suite
Composer:Benjamin Britten
First Publication: 1945
Piece Style/Time Period: 20th Century
Theme: based on the second movement, “Rondeau”, of the Abdelazer suite by Henry Purcell


From Wikipedia: The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra is a 1945 musical composition by Benjamin Britten with a subtitle ‘Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell’. It was based on the second movement, “Rondeau”, of the Abdelazer suite. It was originally commissioned for the British educational documentary film called Instruments of the Orchestra released on 29 November 1946, directed by Muir Mathieson and featuring the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Malcolm Sargent; Sargent also conducted the concert première on 15 October 1946 with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, England.
The work is one of the best-known pieces by the composer, and is often associated with two other works in the context of children’s music education: Saint-Saëns’ The Carnival of the Animals and Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf.
This work, in the composer’s own words, “is affectionately inscribed to the children of John and Jean Maud: Humphrey, Pamela, Caroline and Virginia, for their edification and entertainment”.

Instrumentation   |   Structure   |   Narration

Work Playlist: 

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